After being shut down and resting for weeks, Washington Nationals pitcher Ross Detwiler has resumed running. He raced along the warning track in the outfield on Tuesday afternoon. The herniated disk in his lower back that has held him out since July 4 has improved, and he is nearing the end of his mandated 30-day shutdown.
Detwiler is still nearly a week away from resuming baseball activities and about 10 days away from throwing a ball again, Manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s feeling great,” Johnson said.
Added General Manager Mike Rizzo: “He’s progressing well.”
Even though Detwiler is nearing a throwing program, it will still be a few weeks before he is ready to begin a rehab assignment and appear in games. The Nationals have braced for the reality that Detwiler may not pitch again this season, but Rizzo believes that the left-hander will start again before the season is over.
“We hope he does,” Rizzo said.
Another injured Nationals starter is progressing well. Ross Ohlendorf will make one more rehab start, either Thursday or Friday, according to Johnson, before his expected return to the Nationals. Ohlendorf has been out since Aug. 1 with a tired right arm that was announced as shoulder inflammation.
Ohlendorf threw 63 pitches over three innings, allowing one run on five hits with Class AAA Syracuse, on Saturday. He will make one more start, likely at a nearby minor league affiliate, Johnson said. Ohlendorf is on track to replace rookie right-hander Taylor Jordan in the starting rotation when Jordan is shut down because of a team-mandated innings limit.
In his first full season since Tommy John surgery in 2011, Jordan has thrown a combined 136 innings between the majors and minor leagues. After his last start, in which he allowed four runs in five innings and raised his ERA to 4.14, Johnson indicated that Jordan would make at least one more start and would be capped at around 155 innings.
Asked Tuesday, Rizzo wouldn’t divulge the innings limit. He will lean on what he sees from Jordan. “We’ve always used our eyes when it comes to shutting down pitchers,” Rizzo said. He will look for keys such as the amount of wear Jordan shows.
Until this season, the most Jordan has thrown in a professional season was 94 1/3 innings in 2011. Jordan has felt this season’s increased workload. “I think it’s starting to wear a little bit but I can get through it,” he said.
Jordan isn’t sure when he will be capped or what will happen after that. He has seen how the Nationals have handled previous Tommy John pitchers, such as Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, and trusts the Nationals’ plan. As for whenever his final start will be, Jordan has a particular hope.
“I just want to end with a bang,” he said. “I want to have a good game my last one. That’s kinda what I’m going off of.”
Also, Johnson, who left Sunday’s game early with a balky back, received a shot, including some cortisone, in back on Monday. “I feel a lot better,” he said. “A little sore from where they jabbed me but I feel better.”