Washington Nationals' Reliever Zach Duke Expected To Start Monday In San Francisco In Place Of Ross Detwiler

Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said yesterday that if the injury to Ross Detwiler's lower back/oblique area wasn't too bad the team would probably find a replacement for his next start from their major league roster rather than the minor leagues. Reports today say it will be Zach Duke filling in for Detwiler Monday night in San Francisco.

Before Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters last night that the second MRI on Ross Detwiler's back showed that he had an issue in the "oblique area" it was fairly clear that the 27-year-old lefty was not going to make his next scheduled start on Monday night in San Francisco.

Nats' GM Mike Rizzo stated as much openly during an interview on MLB Network Radio on Friday afternoon.

"[Detwiler] hasn't thrown his side or his bullpen in between starts," Rizzo told hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern, "so we'll make some decisions on who is going to fill in for his start on Monday."

When Mr. Stern asked if the Nationals would look to someone on the big league roster to fill in for Detwiler or if they'd reach down to the minors for a replacement, Rizzo said it depended on the severity of the injury to Detwiler's lower back/oblique. "I think we'll make that decision when we get a prognosis of where Det's at," the general manager explained, "If it's just a miss one start type of thing, we may fill it from our bullpen, but if it's going to be a DL type of thing, we may go down to the minor leagues and get a starter for a couple starts."

"We don't think it's overly too serious though," Rizzo added. The decision the Nationals announced this afternoon would seem to support that last diagnosis. Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak noted on Twitter that upon arriving at Petco Park where the Nationals will play the third game of their four-game set with San Diego tonight, that Zach Duke was spotted in the bullpen throwing a side session. The official announcement came just a little while later with several reporters on the scene tweeting the news:

Though Duke was struggled in his role in the Nats' bullpen, with an 8.40 ERA, a 4.42 FIP, four walks (2.40 BB/9) and 10 Ks (6.00 K/9) in 15.0 IP, he spent the bulk of the season as a starter at Triple-A in 2012, going (15-5) with a 3.51 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 39 walks (2.14 BB/9) and 91 Ks (4.98 K/9) in 26 starts and 164.1 IP for the Syracuse Chiefs before he was called up in September to work out of the bullpen as the Nationals locked up the NL East crown. When he takes the mound Monday night it will be his first major league start since July 10, 2011 when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the 169th start of his career.

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