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Detwiler dissatisfied but won’t dwell on role change

Mar 19, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

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VIERA, Fla. — Ross Detwiler isn’t happy about the Nationals’ decision to move him to the bullpen. That much was clear as the left-hander discussed his situation this afternoon for the first time since getting the news on Monday.

Detwiler, though, insists he won’t let dissatisfaction with his role affect his performance once he takes the mound as a reliever for the first time tonight against the Astros.

“I’m just focusing on going out there tonight,” he said. “I’ve got to throw tonight, so there’s no sense taking any of that out to the mound. Then I hurt myself and not perform.”

Informed on Monday by pitching coach Steve McCatty he was no longer in the running for the open No. 5 spot in the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation and would instead begin the season pitching out of the bullpen, Detwiler has had 48 hours to contemplate a switch he insisted never crossed his mind when he arrived in Viera a month ago.

“No, I was just focusing on going out there and pitching, getting healthy, getting stronger,” he said. “Stretching myself out and being able to go wherever they told me to go.”

After an injury-plagued 2013, Detwiler’s primary focus this spring was proving his back was 100 percent healthy and no longer a concern. Once it was clear that wasn’t an issue, the 28-year-old began building up his arm and stretching himself out believing he’d need to be ready to pitch six or more innings once the regular season began.

Now he must learn how to adapt to a new routine, one that could eventually require him to pitch on back-to-back days for the first time in his career. Though he has spent time in the bullpen in the past, Detwiler always remained on something of a starter’s schedule, getting several days off between appearances.

The Nationals haven’t told him yet how he’ll be used in this bullpen stint, but he recognizes it likely will require some adjustments.

“I’m not real sure, because like I said they haven’t told me exactly what my role is going to be,” he said. “I think that’s one thing we address once they tell me exactly where I’m going to fit in.”

With a pair of inexperienced right-handers (Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan) and a veteran with a significant injury history (Chris Young) still in the mix for the final spot in the Nationals’ rotation, Detwiler very well could find himself summoned back to a starter’s job somewhere along the way.

Detwiler made it clear he wants to start again, though he also made it clear he’ll do whatever the Nationals believe is best for the club’s overall fortunes.

“Yeah, I still view myself as a starter,” he said. “But I’m not going to go out there and hope somebody does bad or somebody gets hurt. We’re in it to win. And I think it’s going to hurt worse if we don’t win the whole thing this year.”

  1. NatsLady - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Said the right things (unlike other people–on other teams). Let’s see how it goes.

    • David Proctor - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      You mean Detwiler didn’t email media members whining?

    • natinalsgo - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      If that’s a swipe at Harvey I saw nothing wrong with it and he seems to be getting overwhelming support for his comments throughout the net. Strasburg wasn’t too happy with his extended stay in Florida either if you recall his interviews after the fact. Difference was Strasburg didn’t get to air his thoughts as openly beforehand.

      If athletes truly got to speak their minds with no PR spin you’d have a circus. Have you listened to Brandon Phillips or Giancarlo uncensored.

      • David Proctor - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        I believe it was a swipe at John Lannan, not Harvey.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        John Lannan said that while on the Nats. She said other team. Unfiltered and with emotion. Detwilers comments didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy but he was smart enough to not throw anyone under the bus or sound overly disgruntled.

  2. natinalsgo - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Guys like Stammen and Clippard have done well and Detwiler still could become a starter again. Better the bullpen then life in the Minor Leagues.

    • shawndc04 - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Isn’t Det out of options?

      • natinalsgo - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        I think he is out of options just comparing that life in 1st Class isn’t all bad.

    • jd - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      True enough. But Detwiler doesn’t believe that he’s done anything to deserve a demotion and as a competitor you can understand his initial reaction. I don’t have a problem with it.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        Agreed jd.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        Neither does his boss, according to Kilgore:

        “Detwiler was ‘not happy,’ Williams said. ‘But I wouldn’t expect him to be.’”

  3. tcostant - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Detwiler should talk with Clip, he has insights that Det needs to hear on this topic…

  4. Doc - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Since Rizzo has talked about this switch for Det, for some time, I have a hard time seeing how RD was surprised by the BP assignment.

  5. sjm308 - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    Not a huge surprise but having McCatty break the news is interesting. I might think in his first year that Williams would want to do that, or at least have it like we have seen in various movies where the manager is sitting behind his desk, smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer with the loyal coach standing to the side when the player is brought in for bad news. Of course this is not saying good-bye to Ross and I hope he is lights out in his new role but you can’t expect him to just accept something like that easily. These guys are as good as they are because they are as competitive as they are.

    Go Nats!!

    not sure it has been mentioned but my choice for #7 in the pen is now out looking for work

    • knoxvillenat - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Do we know for sure that McCatty was the only one around from the coaching staff when it was time to break the news to Det? I don’t recall seeing any mention as to who actually participated in the discussion with Ross but I would certainly think both Williams and McCatty would have been present.

      • sjm308 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        Just reading what Mark writes – look at the 4th paragraph

  6. Eric - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    “Yeah, I still view myself as a starter,” he said. “But I’m not going to go out there and hope somebody does bad or somebody gets hurt. We’re in it to win. And I think it’s going to hurt worse if we don’t win the whole thing this year.”

    Great comment. “I’m bummed, but I’d be way more bummed if we don’t win it all, whatever role I play.”

    I think Det will be just fine.

    • Eric - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Er, yeah, that second “quote” is me paraphrasing Det…heh

    • natinalsgo - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      If he pitches a 1.11 to the All Star break he will be more than fine. He will add All Star to his resumé.

      • letswin3 - Mar 19, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        Zackly!!

      • Eric - Mar 19, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        Indeederooney!!!

  7. sjm308 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    The more I think about the moves needed to be made the more the 40 man rosters comes into play.
    In past years, Rizzo had a spot or two open to move a player like Carroll or Young right in.
    Our 40 man is chock full folks so if someone on a minor league deal or spring training invite is actually chosen, someone needs to go. This is also why Nieto was nabbed in the rule 5.
    So my position now is that unless there is a trade, none of the “old guys” are going north.

    On another point – lots of us (myself included) have speculated that Espinosa could be dangled in a trade if he shows well this spring. I took myself out of that group when I realize we really don’t have a SS that is ready for the majors if Desmond is hurt or even out for a couple of days. Just read where the D’Backs are now offering a really decent young SS Didi Gregorious in a trade for a viable major league starter since their opening day guy went down a couple days ago. This kid is 23/24 – hit .250 with 7 HR and had an ops of 704 and obp over 330. He is nowhere near the defensive player that Espinosa is but I think he is a more attractive trade prospect than Danny at this time. I guess my point of this is that Espinosa will not bring the value that this kid will and I think he will be with us when we head north. As usual I am expecting to be wrong more often than not but I love to speculate.

    Go Nats!!

  8. realdealnats - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Det will be fine. And if he really wants to force his way back into the rotation he can truly develop a 3rd or 4th pitch while in the pen.

  9. Theophilus T.S. - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    There are people the Nats don’t need on the 40-man roster. Perez comes to mind immediately. Cedeno, too. But this problem will crop up with a number of folks besides Carroll. E.g., Young, M. Gonzalez, or when Davis comes off the 60-day DL — although an extended stay in the minors on rehab is likely for him; probably won’t be seen here before mid-July.

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