Ross Detwileris still experiencing discomfort in his back, and will see back and neck specialist Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. in Los Angeles for a second opinion on the back strain that has kept him out since July 4th.
Detwiler was originally expected to miss roughly the minimum 15 days that come with being placed on the DL, but his prognosis has grown worse recently. Last week, he was expected to miss two more starts, and now the Nats fear that they could be without him for a long time. This is Detwiler’s second DL stint of the year. He missed a month with a right oblique strain earlier this year, but this injury is not believed to be related. He was excellent before his first injury, with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts. Since returning, he has a 6.31 ERA in four starts and his season ERA has jumped to 4.04.
If Detwiler will indeed miss a long time, the Nats have a few options. The first is to continue with Taylor Jordan in his rotation spot. This is the least likely outcome, as Jordan is on an innings limit as he recovers from Tommy John surgery and will likely return to the minors soon. The second, and most likely, is to move Ross Ohlendorf to the rotation and send Jordan back to the minors as Ryan Mattheus returns from the DL. Ohlendorf has been excellent since being called up for a spot start, with a 2.03 ERA in eight appearances. Mattheus has been out since late May after suffering a broken hand when he punched a locker out of frustration. The third option would be to acquire a starter via trade, but that is also unlikely, given that the Nationals have confidence in Ohlendorf and will not give up prospects for a pitcher who will serve as a Band-Aid for the rotation.
Look for Ohlendorf to join the rotation after starting the doubleheader on Friday. The Nats have said he will start one of the day’s games and that Mattheus will be added as the day’s 26th man. To return the roster to 25 men on Saturday, Jordan will likely be optioned to the minors. He was called up from Double A Harrisburg, but may return to Triple A Syracuse given his dominance at Double A and his relative success in the majors.