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That revelation, combined with some other developments over the last couple of days, prompted the Nationals to add another arm to their bullpen today: Right-hander Erik Davis was recalled from Class AAA, with outfielder Jeff Kobernus optioned to Syracuse to make room on the roster.
Detwiler showed no signs of injury during his start Friday night against the Mets, in which he allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings.
"He threw a lot of pitches in five innings," manager Davey Johnson said. "I thought he threw the ball well. I didn't notice anything bothering him in the game."
Detwiler, who spent four weeks on the DL earlier this season with an oblique strain on the other side of his back, informed the club after Friday's start that his lower back was stiff, giving Johnson reason to be concerned enough that he's now preparing Ross Ohlendorf to start on Wednesday against the Brewers in case Detwiler isn't ready.
The key test will come Sunday, when Detwiler would normally throw his between-starts bullpen session.
"Hopefully they can do their magic in the training room and he'll be able to throw his side," Johnson said. "If he can't throw his side, then there's a chance he'd miss his start. And I'd probably do that in-house, probably Ohlendorf. So I also want to be careful how I use him in the next few days."
Ohlendorf pitched two innings in relief of Detwiler on Friday and probably won't be used out of the bullpen again before Wednesday in case he's needed to start.
With that in mind, the Nationals recalled Davis this morning from Syracuse, adding a 13th pitcher to their staff. Kobernus, who was hitting .174 in minimal action, was optioned back to Class AAA in the corresponding move.
"Just wanted to make sure I have enough pitching," Johnson said.
The Nationals also optioned Chris Marrero to Syracuse following Friday night's win, clearing space for right-hander Taylor Jordan to be promoted from Class AA Harrisburg to make his big-league debut this afternoon.
Davis' stay may not last long. With Bryce Harper on track to come off the DL on Monday, the Nationals will probably send another reliever down and return to a traditional, 12-man staff.