Ohlendorf to start, Roark gets chance

Ohlendorf to start, Roark gets chance
August 30, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Ross Ohlendorf it is.

Davey Johnson confirmed before Friday’s game the veteran right-hander will indeed start for the Nationals on Sunday night, and ruled out Stephen Strasburg’s availability to pitch a day early. 

Strasburg threw a bullpen session on Friday and is fine after feeling tightness in his back in his previous start. Tanner Roark was the other candidate, but pitched two innings on Thursday night and will remain in the bullpen for now.

Johnson did say, however, this won’t be the last of Roark and talk of him starting. The Nats hope to give the rookie an opportunity before the year is over to see what he’s got in an expanded role. The 26-year-old could, in fact, be in play for a rotation spot next season.

“I’d still like to get him a shot at starting. I like the way he goes about his business,” Johnson said.

“You want to see him get the opportunity to see how it plays for going into next year. Would he be a candidate to start? You need to have as good a read on as many young pitchers as you can going forward. You never know about [Ross Detwiler] or [Taylor] Jordan, but you need to have more than just five.”

Speaking of Detwiler, the lefty is “real close” to throwing off a mound, his manager said. Johnson revealed earlier in the week that a return by the end of the season was unlikely, but now he has changed his tune.

“I hope to get him enough mental work to maybe even do some throwing in a game up here,” Johnson said. “It would be my preference to see, use him to pitch an inning and give him four days rest and let him pitch another inning. It would be like testing him, see how that back is going to hold up. The bigger the sample, the more we’ll know about how he’s going to be next year.”

Johnson said Detwiler will probably also need time in the instructional league for more work after the season.