(Reed Saxon / AP)

After an MRI exam of Ross Detwiler’s back yesterday revealed only a slight oblique strain, the Nationals plan to not place him on the disabled list, General Manager Mike Rizzo said.

Detwiler will miss his start Monday against the Giants, with Zach Duke replacing him. Detwiler may or may not make his next start, but having Thursday off will give the Nationals flexibility to keep Detwiler from landing on the DL without sacrificing their staff.

Detwiler’s next turn in the rotation after Monday would come next Sunday at Nationals Park. The Nationals are hopeful he will be able to make that start, Rizzo said. But if the spasms and soreness in his back persist, the Nationals could skip Detwiler and let Stephen Strasburg make the start in his place on normal rest.

“We’re hoping he does pitch,” Rizzo said. “We don’t have to call up a pitcher, a starter, from the minor leagues. We’re hoping Ross can take the next start. If not, we can skip his start and guys are still on regular rest.”

The Nationals would need Detwiler to return by the next Tuesday, April 28, in order to prevent Jordan Zimmermann from throwing on short rest. But, again, they are hopeful he misses only the start Monday in San Francisco.

“In essence, we’ll 10 or 11 days until that spot needs to pitch again,” Rizzo said. “We think Ross will be okay by then.”

In other injury news, the Nationals believe Jayson Werth will return Friday, when the Nationals return home from their 10-day West Coast trip. Rizzo said Werth returned home to Springfield, Ill. to tend to a personal matter – not to Chicago to see a specialist, as Manager Davey Johnson said – and will begin a new rehab assignment this week.

The Nationals had hoped Werth could come off the disabled list and return from his strained right hamstring this weekend in San Diego. The delay stemmed from Werth’s visit to Keith Pyne, a specialist in New York.

“They worked the hamstring very well,” Rizzo said. “They found out how they wanted to work it. In doing all that work on it, they flared it up. Hopefully, it’ll make it better in the long run. But they flared it up so he didn’t want to play the next day in the minor leagues. We’re having him rest today, and he’ll start ramping up baseball activities this week.”

As for today’s lineup, Bryce Harper remains out, as expected, and Ian Desmond will get his first day off after playing the first 43 games of the season. Danny Espinosa will play shortstop for the first time against Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner.


1. Denard Span, CF

2. Steve Lombardozzi, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Tyler Moore, LF

6. Roger Bernadina, RF

7. Danny Espinosa, SS

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Dan Haren, SP


1. Everth Cabrera, SS

2. Will Venable, CF

3. Chase Headley, 3B

4. Carlos Quentin, LF

5. Yonder Alonso, 1B

6. Jedd Gyorko, 2B

7. Kyle Blanks, RF

8. Nick Hundley, C

9. Andrew Cashner, SP