The hopes of Ross Detwiler returning for the Nationals by the end of this season have grown increasingly slim. It’s not that he’s had a setback in his recovery from a lower back strain, it’s that there just may not be enough games left.
The Nats only have 11 games remaining on their schedule and, after throwing three innings in a bullpen session on Wednesday, Detwiler will now head to Viera, Florida to pitch in the instructional league on Monday.
Davey Johnson thinks that will likely end the lefty’s season in Washington.
“If that’s the plan, he might as well stay down there,” Johnson said. “I don’t see it. If he gets four days off, there will only be one or two games left. I don’t see the point in coming out just for one game for us. That’s going to be a decision made down the road.”
Detwiler hasn’t pitched since July 3 against the Brewers and was placed on the disabled list July 7. He was then transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 6.
Detwiler dealt with an oblique injury earlier in the year and was later diagnosed with a lower back strain. Johnson thinks the two are related and may hold root in his participation in the World Baseball Classic during spring training.
“I had a feeling some of this stuff started going on after the WBC. It was bothering him two or three starts into the season and it finally got worse when we were out in L.A. It got twisted.”
If Detwiler’s season is indeed over, it will go down as a disappointing one. After breaking out in 2012 going 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA and finding success in last year’s postseason, he went 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 2013 in just 13 starts.
The former first round pick has only pitched in 71 1/3 innings this year and the possibility of him going to winter ball after instructs has been discussed. Detwiler, however, isn’t interested.
“I know he doesn’t want to do that,” Johnson said.
Though he may not return this year, Detwiler figures to have a rotation spot waiting for him next season if he can stay healthy. The Nationals wan’t to make sure he will be at the very least good to go for 2014.
“We need to see if this injury is going to be serious,” Johnson said. “As many starts and appearances he can get is important. He needs to be comfortable and reliable next year.”