Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Zimmermann to start Sun, Detwiler to pen

Jordan Zimmermann will make his regularly scheduled start Sunday, then slide into the No. 5 spot in the Nationals' rotation coming out of the All-Star break as the club seeks to stretch his season out before reaching his innings limit for 2011.

With Zimmermann staying in the rotation this weekend, left-hander Ross Detwiler (who started Tuesday night and earned the win) will move to the bullpen and assume a long reliever's role.

Manager Davey Johnson said he'll attempt to keep Detwiler on a starter's schedule; he will likely pitch only every fourth or fifth day. But the 25-year-old will fill a much-needed long role in the Nationals' bullpen.

"I won't use him as your typical left-handed reliever," Johnson said. "I'll use him strictly long and line him up. He'll get his throwing in between pitching. He's a valuable product, a young left-hander that throws the ball good. So I won't use him like that."

Summoned from Class AAA Syracuse to make a spot start Tuesday against the Cubs, Detwiler wound up carrying a shutout into the sixth inning before surrendering a two-run homer to Aramis Ramirez. The organization still views its 2007 first-round draft pick as starter in the long-term, but Johnson had expressed a desire to carry a "sixth starter" since assuming the managerial position last week.

There was some consideration given to skipping Zimmermann's next turn and having Detwiler start the final game before the All-Star break, but club officials decided to keep the emerging right-hander on a regular schedule and have him start Sunday against the Rockies.

Zimmermann, though, won't pitch every fifth day during the season's second half. Johnson said he'll come out of the break as the No. 5 starter and get bypassed whenever off-days allow for it.

All of this is an attempt to keep Zimmermann actively pitching as deep into the season as the Nationals can before he reaches his predetermined limit of 160 innings in his first full year since Tommy John surgery. The right-hander's total currently sits at 108 2/3 innings, so he's likely to make eight more starts before being shut down.

The Nationals hope they can spread those eight starts out until September 1, at which point rosters expand to 40 and another starter can take Zimmermann's rotation spot.

"It's not a great situation," Johnson said. "But again, his welfare is more important than any particular game."

In other news, reliever Cole Kimball is scheduled to visit a specialist in New York Thursday to have his ailing right shoulder re-examined. Kimball has not pitched since June 9 in San Diego. He attempted to resume a throwing program earlier this week but still complained of shoulder pain, so he's been shut down until further notice.


Paul said...

Shoulder pain is no good for a hard throwing reliever like Kimball. Too bad, I was really looking forward to seeing what he could do on the big stage.

Section 222 said...

I'd love to hear how it is practical to have a "long reliever" who only pitches every fifth day. Seems like you really need a rubber-armed Miss Iowa type, who can throw three innings every few days if needed. You never know when a starter is going to blow up; sure didn't happen often in the first half of the season. How many days a week could Detwiler fill that role if he's on a throwing program? Someone enlighten me please.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Mark, what does this mean for Balester?

Dave said...

Mark -

Is there any news about upcoming draftee signings? It seems like the Nats are lagging behind some other teams when it comes to getting the guys on rosters (and not just the top round picks). It has been almost a month now, so I wanted to know if Rizzo or the other brass have mentioned anything about it.


Mark Zuckerman said...

Dave: The Nats announced a bunch of draft signings on June 21 -- -- and those players are all currently on the rosters in the Gulf Coast League or at short-season Class A Auburn. I'm sure more will be announced soon, but don't count on the top picks signing until right before the mid-August deadline.

Sunderland said...

Sec222, I am with you. What if a starter fails early but it's not on Detwiler's schedule? This sounds like Davey J will decide when a starters falters early.

Drew8 said...

Good for Detwiler.

This fills a need for the club and keeping him on a four- or five-day schedule means he could slip into the rotation if the Nats deal an innings-eater at the deadline.

Gonat said...

I am sure this is Davey's plan today and you will see Detwiler doing 2 to 3 inning stints.

No reason to have him sitting and doing nothing.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...


MicheleS said...

I hope Kimball's shoulder is okay.. Shoulder injuries are never a good sign.

Tim said...

You gotta think that Kimball is a torn labrum and will be out the rest of this and most of next year. Terrible thing.

We need to JZim some run support!

SonnyG10 said...

I sure hope Kimball isn't hurt too badly, if he is hurt. I don't want another CMW situation.

JaneB said...

I am echoing Sec 3: what does this mean for Collin, who is in limbo at the moment?

Big Cat said...

Good move putting Detwiler in pen. He has a loose, live arm, can probably get ready quickly. He might just blossum there.

Kimball does not have a torn labrum

Joe Seamhead said...

Chein Ming Wang pitches tonight for Harrisburg. He may yet be a wild card in the mix for the post-all star game Nats. Wishing him nothing but good luck.
The official scorer originally ruled that Harper reached on a run scoring error last night in his first at bat, then changed the ruling to an RBI single later in the game. He officially went 3-3, with 1 RBI and 1 SB. Not too shabby.

Anonymous said...

Chein Ming Wang pitches tonight for Harrisburg. He may yet be a wild card in the mix for the post-all star game Nats. Wishing him nothing but good luck.

Who is he going to replace? Given his injury and the fact his velocity is nowhere near what it used to be? There is no way this guy starts in the majors for the Nats unless Rizzo is completely bonkers or ownership dictates that he does because of what they paid him. Still a couple of million isn't all that much ... so?

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