New hitting coach Rick Schu joins Nats
Continuing to experience setbacks involving his lower back strain, Nationals starter Ross Detwiler will now see back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins on Wednesday in Los Angeles for further testing and a second opinion.
Detwiler has been on the disabled list since July 4 and felt pain in his back after throwing a bullpen session over the weekend. Manager Davey Johnson said the discomfort was so bad he couldn’t even jog while warming up for the workout.
“They’re not sure why it keeps reoccurring,” Johnson said. “They’ve done a lot of tests. I think they want to get another opinion.”
Johnson acknowledged Detwiler could be out for longer than first expected, perhaps an extended absence after already missing three weeks. Detwiler - 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA this year - also missed a month earlier this season with a strained oblique.
“It’s a problem,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking at. Also, Taylor Jordan’s going to be on an innings limit. So we’re thinking about all those things and how to go forward.”
Jordan originally joined the Nationals in late June as a replacement for Dan Haren, but stayed up with the big league club once Detwiler went down in early July. Jordan may be used differently soon due to an innings limit and that could open the door for more starts for Ross Ohlendorf.
Ohlendorf will make his second start of the season on Friday as the Nats play a doubleheader against the Mets. He pitched in long relief on Sunday and threw 88 pitches across six innings.
The original plan for Detwiler was to have him return to the rotation for Tuesday night’s game against the Pirates. But in advance of that date, he had to cut a bullpen session short on July 20 due to stiffness in his back.
Mattheus one rehab game away from return
The Nats may be getting some help for their pitching staff soon in reliever Ryan Mattheus. Mattheus is in Syracuse on Tuesday night with plans to throw two innings.
After his Triple-A appearance, Mattheus will evaluate his right hand over the next two days with sights set on a Friday return. Mattheus has been on the disabled list since May 21 after breaking his pitching hand on a locker in San Diego.
Johnson said Mattheus will likely be activated as the team’s 26th man for the doubleheader and a corresponding move will be determined Friday night.