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Ross Detwiler will return to the mound Thursday for the first time since May 15. He made one rehab start Saturday at Class A Potomac and felt well enough in his recovery from a strained oblique to come off the disabled list against the Colorado Rockies.

He said his side wouldn’t hold him back but he would reserve judgement on how he feels until after he faces big league hitters for the first time in a month. As the Nationals struggled and the starting rotation suffered injuries to Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg, Detwiler had a difficult time watching from the dugout. He is excited simply to return to major league mound.

“I’ve been sitting out 23, 24 games, something like that,” he said. “I haven’t been able to do anything, just sitting on the sidelines not contributing at all.”

Detwiler, who suffered a setback as he neared his return two weeks ago, said he wasn’t surprised by the lingering nature of the oblique injury, which typically keeps pitchers out for a month. “It’s my first one so I had no idea,” he said. “Everybody who has had them told me not to push it or anything because it’s going to be there for a while.”

The Nationals’ fortunes could improve when Detwiler and Strasburg are both scheduled to return this week. Strasburg is expected to come off the disabled list and start Sunday in Cleveland. “I’m looking forward to getting him and Stras after that,” Manager Davey Johnson said.