Results tagged ‘ Ross Detwiler ’

Nats Grapefruit League Notes, 3/1

By Andrew Simon

VIERA, Fla. — Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest between the Nationals and Braves at Space Coast Stadium featured two teams that figure to be fighting each other for the National League East title. But after a brisk first two innings from starters Jordan Zimmermann and Julio Teheran, the game devolved into a sloppy affair that lasted three hours, 59 minutes and featured 31 runs, 37 hits, 14 walks, six errors and numerous misplays.

For what it’s worth, the Nats outlasted the Braves, 16-15. Here are some notes and observations from a long and crazy day at the ballpark:

– Zimmermann was on point, throwing 15 of his 20 pitches for strikes and getting five ground balls in six batters during two scoreless innings. As mentioned in today’s notebook, Zimmermann mixed in some nice changeups, a part of his repertoire that that he has developed very gradually in recent years.

– Bryce Harper played his first game of the spring, going four innings in left field and taking three plate appearances. He lined out sharply to first base, walked twice and stole a base.

– The Nats went 3-for-3 on steals in the third inning, with Denard Span stealing one on his own before pulling off a double steal of third and second with Harper. New manager Matt Williams wants his players to run the bases more aggressively, and they appear to be doing that in the early going.

– Most of the Nats pitchers after Zimmermann had a tough time, but veteran righty Luis Ayala — competing for one the last two bullpen spots — stopped the bleeding. He came in to protect a one-run lead with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth and induced an inning-ending double play, then pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. Ayala is a sinkerball artist who posted an excellent 59 percent groundball rate last season, mostly with Atlanta.

“He’s a guy that can have really quick innings,” Williams said. “An aggressive opposition, ball sinking down and in, a lot of ground balls. So that’s why we’re considering him and that’s why he’s here and it was a perfect situation today for him.”

– Michael Taylor, who is considered a strong defensive prospect in center field, had a rough day after entering the game in right. He made two errors on one play to allow Matt Lipka to circle the bases on a bloop hit down the line and later dropped a line drive into the right-center gap.

“We want to make sure he gets some reps out there,” Williams said. “Today’s a rough day for any right fielder, but he’ll get some more reps out there, too.”

Tomorrow: The Nats are back at Space Coast to take on the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. Doug Fister will start in his Washington debut, and fellow newcomer Jerry Blevins is scheduled to pitch as well. Jayson Werth is supposed to play for the first time this spring.

Looking ahead: Ross Detwiler will start against the Yankees on Monday in Tampa, and Stephen Strasburg will take the ball against the Braves on Tuesday in Lake Buena Vista. That would leave Gio Gonzalez as the one expected member of the rotation yet to pitch.

Worth noting: Although he called Saturday’s defensive sloppiness an “aberration,” Williams said his club will address the issue in a previously scheduled situational defense practice on Sunday.

Worth quoting: While passing a group of reporters in a hallway shortly after the game, Nats coach Mark Weidemaier, who is in charge of the club’s defense, quipped, “Coached the [heck] out of ‘em today!”

Further reading: Today’s notebook on Nationals.com also includes info on how Danny Espinosa will split his time between second base and shortstop this spring, the approach Williams wants prospect Zach Walters to take at the plate, and lefty Tyler Robertson aiming for a bullpen job.

Follow me on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB

Detwiler OK after problems with mound; Pudge hits off tee

Left-hander Ross Detwiler hurt his right ankle during the Nationals’ 11-1 loss to the Braves on Friday night. However, the injury is not considered serious, according to manager Davey Johnson.

Detwiler hurt the ankle after slipping on the mound twice in the sixth inning. After striking out Alex Gonzalez to end the inning, Detwiler was seen limping into the dugout.

“He kind of twisted his ankle a little bit. His ankle went into [the landing spot], but he is fine. He will be all right,” Johnson said.

* Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, on the disabled list because of a strained right oblique, took around 50 swings off a tee without any problems on Friday.

“I didn’t swing hard, but everything is OK. Everything is good, so far,” he said.

Rodriguez is planning to hit off the tee again on Saturday.

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.”

Ross Detwiler returns to Space Coast Stadium

Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler arrived at Space Coast Stadium late Saturday morning on crutches. His arrival came four days after having surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip.

As he walked slowly into the hallway, Detwiler was greeted first by right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Detwiler told him what happened to his hip as Strasburg showed concern for his new teammate.

After talking to additional players on the team, Detwiler then had treatment on the hip, which lasted almost two hours.

Detwiler said he started having hip problems around mid-to-late January while throwing the baseball at the Nationals Spring Training complex. But he didn’t get it checked until last week. Detwiler saw Dr. Bruce Thomas, the team’s orthopedist in Florida, who indicated that something was wrong with Detwiler’s hip. Detwiler then went to Colorado to see Dr. Marc Philippon, who confirmed that surgery was needed.

Asked if the hip bothered him going back to last season, Detwiler hesitated and said, “Everyday, it’s 162 games. You have aches and pains. It really didn’t stand out to anything that would keep me off the field until I start firing it up this year.”

Detwiler is expected to start throwing in six weeks and possibly pitch in a game in 10 weeks.

“That’s a lot quicker than I thought it would be,” Detwiler said. “It was great [that they rushed me into surgery] because now I’m going to miss less time than I would have if they took their time with it.”

Detwiler to start Saturday

It appears that Ross Detwiler’s season is not over. He will start Saturday afternoon’s game against the Braves.

On Monday, the left-haner pitched six solid innings and won his first Major League game against the Mets. It appeared he was done at a combined 147 1/3 innings, but the Nationals thought he had enough innings left in him to get a another start.

The Nationnals also wanted to respect the Braves and the Rockies, who were battling for the National League Wild Card. Washington planned to put in their best players on the field that day.

However, Colorado won the National League Wild Card on Thursday afternoon and Atlanta is out of the playoff race. Don’t look for the Nationals to change their minds when it comes to Detwiler. 

“We want to see him get one more start under his belt before he shuts it down for the year,” general manager Mike Rizzo. “It has been really interesting and exciting to see how his composure has improved. His command has improved — just the whole package of what he brings to the table.” 

Detwiler, the Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2007 First Year player Draft, will compete for a rotation spot next year.                  

Tidbits from Citi Field

* Shortstop Ian Desmond will play for the Licey Tigers this offseason, joining outfielder Elijah Dukes.  

* Left-hander Ross Detwiler will pitch against the Dodgers on Wednedsay. Interim manager Jim Riggleman didn’t rule out Detwiler getting another start. Detwiler is close to his innings limit.

* Ryan Zimmerman [2006] and Adam Dunn [2009] are the only members of the Nationals to drive in 100 runs in a season.  

Detwiler to throw against Phillies on Thurdsay

The Nationals have decided to let left-hander Ross Detwiler start on Thursday night against the Phillies and push right-hander J.D. Martin back and let him throw against the Mets at Citi Field on Friday.

The original plan was to let Detwiler pitch out of the bullpen because he was close to his innings limit, but the Nationals want to see him get two more starts before the season is over.

“I want Ross to garner innings in the Major Leagues,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We want him to turn from prospect into a Major Leaguer. That’s what happens when you garner enough innings in the Major Leagues. What I expect of him is to get more innings and get Major League experience and set the stage for next year.

Detwiler, who was the Nationals’ No. 1 pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, has pitched in 11 big-league games is 0-5 with a 6.17 ERA. Detwiler said he is ready for the challenge of starting again and wants to leave a good impression going into the offseason.

“I threw a bullpen today and I’m trying to get back into my old routine. Once I get into a routine, I’ll do what I used to do,” Detwiler said. “They gave me another opportunity to start, so I want to get the ball rolling, go into Spring Training and compete for a job.”     

Detwiler sent to Syracuse; Mock back in big leagues

After Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Astros, the Nationals optioned left-hander Ross Detwiler to Triple-A Syracuse and are expected to recall right-hander Garrett Mock from Syracuse.

Mock will be in the starting rotation and pitch against the Cubs on Sunday afternoon. Mock, who has been a reliever most of his Major League career, was 5-1 with a 2.65 ERA with Syracuse.

As for Detwiler, he leaves after going 0-5 with a 6.40 ERA in 10 starts. Instead of dwelling on the negative, manager Manny Acta said he was pleased with what Detwiler accomplished during his time in the big leagues.

“We are extremely happy with the way Detwiler pitched up here. He made so much progress,” Acta said. “If you told me that that he was going to start 10 big-league games this year, I wouldn’t believe it. Our plan was to develop him in the Minor Leagues and probably take a look at him in September.”

Through a team spokesman, Detwiler declined to talk to the media. 

Detwiler doing things his way

After he was drafted in the first round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, left-hander Ross Detwiler was told by the Nationals that he had to change his mechanics on the mound.

The team didn’t like that Detwiler was pitching across his body. Instead, they wanted him to throw the ball on a straight line. The Nationals felt by pitching their way, Detwiler would be able throw more pitches on the inside part of the plate against right-handed hitters and prevent an injury to his arm.  

Detwiler tried it their way, but the results were mixed. In first two professional seasons, Detwiler was 10-10 with a 4.58 ERA.  This past Spring Training, Detwiler had a tough time getting batters out, giving up five runs and walking seven batters in 5 1/3 innings in Grapefruit League action.

“The new way wasn’t really working,” Detwiler said. “I was getting hit a lot. I went back to what was comfortable. It made me relax a lot.” 

The old way of pitching earned Detwiler a promotion to the big leagues in May. He feels he is able to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes more often.

Manager Manny Acta said the Nationals have no intentions of changing Detwiler’s mechanics  unless he is in a serious slump.

“We like him the way he is right now,” Acta said. “He has a learning curve, making adjustments. He has the privilege to learn up here. We like the progress he has made the last three or four months. We feel this guy could be a middle of the rotation type of guy –  a very solid one for us.

“We like him just the way he is right now. We are not going to tinker with his delivery for now because he is having success. We’ll see how far it takes him.”  

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