As reported by WTOP’s Craig Heist, Nationals manager Davey Johnson has announced that incumbent fifth starter Chien-Ming Wang will be moved to the bullpen, and Ross Detwiler will return to the rotation.
Wang has struggled since returning from a hamstring tear that forced him to miss the first two months of the season, recording a 6.62 ERA in four starts (17.2 IP). This season was to be Wang’s first full season after returning from a shoulder injury that cost him all of the 2010 season, along with parts of the 2009 and 2011 seasons.
Detwiler, meanwhile, impressed in his stint as the fifth starter to open the season, with a 3.88 ERA and 36 Ks in 48.2 IP. Since being moved to the bullpen to make room for Wang in the rotation, he has pitched even better, with a 1.35 ERA in 6 appearances (13.1 IP).
Last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays served as a microcosm of the competition between the two pitchers. Wang was given the start, but allowed 5 ER in 3.1 IP before being taken out of the game. Detwiler stepped in and pitched masterfully, allowing only one hit over 3.2 shutout innings. Wang was given preference when healthy, but Detwiler has been the better pitcher by far. However, it remains to be seen how well Wang will fare in his new relief role.