Despite initial hopes Ross Detwiler would be able to recover from his strained back to pitch again for the Nationals in September, the left-hander is unlikely to make it back before season’s end.
Detwiler has not yet begun throwing off a mound, and manager Davey Johnson all but ruled out his return in 2013.
“Probably not,” Johnson said. “He’s been out so long. It would be nice to see him throwing at full speed before the end of the season, but whether that means we can take a chance on him pitching up here, I don’t know. That’s going to be strictly up to the doctors.”
Out since July 4 with a lower back strain that had already hampered him earlier in the season, Detwiler has been playing catch and on Tuesday afternoon was doing conditioning work in the outfield at Nationals Park. But he hasn’t yet been cleared to throw off a mound, and time has nearly run out for him to cross that hurdle and still have enough time to build his arm back up to pitch by season’s end.
The Nationals haven’t said if there’s a drop-dead date for Detwiler to be able to return to the active roster, but pitchers typically need a month once they begin throwing off a mound. The regular season ends in 33 days.
“The concern is to accelerate it enough that he’s throwing and to make sure he doesn’t need any further treatment,” Johnson said. “That’s the key. And that’s the only reason to accelerate him coming back to be able to pitch in a game: To see if he’s going to be fine moving forward.”
Assuming he is done for the season, Detwiler will finish a disappointing 2013 with a 2-7 record and 4.04 ERA in 13 starts.