Based on the way he has lined up the starting rotation during spring training, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson implied he would use Dan Haren as the team’s No. 4 starter and Ross Detwiler as the No. 5 starter.
Johnson said a final ordering of the starters depends on how the final two weeks of the spring shake out but, for now, it appears the rotation will look like this: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Haren and Detwiler. Johnson said Haren gets the edge of Detwiler because of his experience. The order of the rotation mirrors last season, in which Johnson alternated right and left-handers except for the No. 3 and 4.
Detwiler, who returned to Nationals camp from the World Baseball Classic on Saturday, will start Sunday against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. Zimmermann will start Wednesday, the first game after Tuesday’s day off. Johnson said Gonzalez remained in Miami, his home town, with friends and family after the WBC ended and will throw Monday during a minor league game. While with Team USA, Gonzalez threw a bullpen session on Thursday or Friday, Johnson said.
Haren will next start on Thursday on six days’ rest thanks to the day off, and again on March 26, his last start of the spring. He will head to Washington to throw side bullpen sessions to stay sharp for his first regular season start, which would fall on the first road game in Cincinnati on April 5.
Chris Young, signed during spring training to serve as injury insurance for the starters, is slated to make two more spring starts, on Wednesday and March 25. The right-hander can opt-out of his minor league deal with the Nationals on March 24. Should all starters remain healthy, Young has no spot on the team. “He’s not a candidate to pitch out of my ‘pen,” Johnson said.