The Nationals will need to call up a spot starter for Tuesday's game against the Cubs, and Ross Detwiler is the likely choice.
Manager Davey Johnson acknowledged the club will promote someone from its farm system instead of asking left-hander Tom Gorzelanny to return on short rest. He wouldn't reveal the name of the soon-to-be promoted starter but said Detwiler "most definitely" is a candidate.
The Nationals need to make this move because of today's doubleheader against the Pirates, with Livan Hernandez and John Lannan each scheduled to pitch. They can make it through this turn of the rotation without any reinforcements, but face a dilemma for Tuesday's game.
Johnson said he wouldn't bring back a current starter on short rest.
"It's too early in the season to be bringing back guys on three days' rest," he said. "It really falls back on Gorzelanny. And he's had some tenderness [in his elbow] earlier this season, so we definitely won't bring him back on three days' rest."
Strong evidence Detwiler will get the call: He pitched two innings on Thursday for Class AAA Syracuse on short rest, a move that lines him up perfectly to start Tuesday on regular rest.
The 25-year-old lefty (the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2007 draft) is 6-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 16 starts at Syracuse, but he's shown improvement in recent weeks. Over his last six outings, he's 3-1 with a 2.46 ERA.
Though fellow lefty Tom Milone has better overall numbers (6-5, 3.51, 95-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio), Johnson indicated the 24-year-old isn't ready for big-league action quite yet.
"I like him, too," the manager said. "But I think Det's a little ahead of him. I also think he's on the [40-man] roster and the other guy isn't."