Nats recall Detwiler, designated Balester for assignment

The Nationals recalled left-hander Ross Detwiler from Triple A Syracuse and designated right-hander Collin Balester for assignment on Tuesday afternoon.

Detwiler was 6-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 16 starts for Syracuse at the time of his promotion. He made his first Major League start of the season Tuesday against the Cubs.

Manager Davey Johnson is hoping that Detwiler will stay for more than one game. Johnson said he has been looking for a sixth starter, a long man and extra left-hander out of the bullpen. Detwiler could accomplish all three things.

“As far as I’m concern, he’s not called on for one start,” Johnson said. “He is so valuable, if [general manager Mike Rizzo] lets me keep him, I will still use him kind of in a rotation role out of the ‘pen as if he was starting. He will have side work before I bring him back.”

Balester, who was 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in eight relief appearances with Washington, is expected to remain in the Nationals organization and return to Syracuse by Thursday. In the meantime, Balester was put on optional Major League waivers.

According to Baseball Prospectus, “optional Major League waivers are required when optioning a player who is more than three calendar years removed from his first appearance on a major-league roster. This procedure allows a club to send a player to the Minor Leagues while keeping him on the 40-man roster. Because optional waivers are revocable, players usually clear in this scenario.”

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