In the first of two starts he's going to make before leaving the Washington Nationals' camp for the World Baseball Classic, where he's scheduled to pitch for Team USA on March 9th, 26-year-old left-hander Ross Detwiler gave up two runs on five hits in 2.2 IP against the Atlanta Braves. The Nats' '07 1st Round pick was pleased with the outing and the fact that he was able to throw first pitch strikes to eight of the fourteen batters he faced. Asked about how he approached the two Grapefruit League outings he'll make before he heads into "competitive" action in the World Baseball Classic, Detwiler firmly but politely corrected the reporter who asked. "I was just in a competitive game," Detwiler said. "You saw the lineup [the Braves] put out there today. I could have been embarrassed pretty easily. And, I think this helped me out a lot, seeing a lot of their top guys. It makes you focus on keeping the ball down, because every one of them can hit the ball a mile."
In his second Spring start this afternoon, Detwiler faces the St. Louis Cardinals at home in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium where the Nats and Cards play the second of back-to-back games after Saturday's Nats' win. The goal as he prepares for his sixth MLB season is to continue to throw first-pitch strikes Detwiler told reporters after his first outing. It's always been a goal, however, as Detwiler explained.
"It always really is," Detwiler said, "I've just kind of [stunk] at it the last few years. I'm getting a little better." As he did at the end of the 2012 campaign, Detwiler said he's concentrating on throwing a four-seam fastball in addition to his sinker. "I'm working four-seam in-and-out," the left-hander said, "And then the sinker. That's something I did later on in the season last year. It kind of gives me a third pitch, or a fourth pitch, however many I throw. One more. So, I think it keeps [hitters] off the sinker a little bit. Kind of surprises them, instead of being able to time the sinker with the first pitch and then be right on it the next time."
Detwiler will continue to work on throwing first pitch strikes and keeping hitters off-balance against the St. Louis Cardinals' team he helped the Nationals beat in Game 4 of last October's NLDS, in one of the best starts of the Nats' left-hander's career. Detwiler and the Nats take on the Cards at 1:05 pm EST this afternoon in Grapefruit League action.
Here's the lineup that will take on the Cardinals this afternoon in Space Coast Stadium:
First full lineup of the spring, as Zim makes his 2013 Grapefruit League debut twitter.com/Nationals/stat…— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 3, 2013
As you might have noticed, Ryan Zimmerman is penciled in as the DH in his first game of the Spring following offseason surgery on his right shoulder. According to reports from Viera, Florida this morning, Wilson Ramos also got through the sliding drills that were the next test in his rehab from the knee surgeries he had last summer to repair a torn ACL and meniscus. Ramos will get an at bat in the DH spot at some point this afternoon as well. It's the Nats and Cards live from Space Coast Stadium. This one's only available via the Cardinals' radio feed on MLB Gameday Radio. Who's listening to the Nationals?