Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Speculation about a move to the bullpen arose when Ross Detwiler was scheduled to relieve for Wednesday’s exhibition and was confirmed by manager Matt Williams yesterday. Despite incumbency in the rotation, Detwiler will start the regular season in the pen, leaving second year pitchers Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark as the two remaining candidates for the fifth spot in the Nationals stacked rotation. Veteran Chris Young has been said to be in contention as well but seems to be a highly unlikely choice.
As for the bullpen, the Nationals now have two reliable lefties in Detwiler and newcomer Jerry Blevins. Detwiler could end up thriving in his new spot for he has the ability to eat up innings in long relief and the power fastball to get big outs. As a whole, the bullpen is rounding out nicely and looks to be a strength especially if closer Rafael Soriano can stave off the negative effects of old age.
While informing reporters of the change, Williams mentioned that Detwiler is unhappy with the decision. As expected, Williams is beginning to show his hardnosed approach to winning. Under previous manager Davey Johnson, Detwiler most likely would have been handed the job based off tenure.
Regardless, expect Detwiler to get, at the least, a few spot starts. Injuries are inevitable and Detwiler is fantastic insurance.