Detwiler's return this season very much in doubt

Detwiler's return this season very much in doubt

MILWAUKEE -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson has doubts that left-hander Ross Detwiler will return to the mound this season.

Detwiler has been dealing with a back strain since mid-May, but has been on the disabled list since July 7. He has to wait at least two more weeks before he can do any kind of baseball-related activities.

"We'll try to bring him back before the year is over to make sure he is healthy and nothing further has to be done," Johnson said. [I think it's a long shot for Detwiler to come back], because he hasn't done much in probably close to three weeks prior to that. … He would have to go through like you go through Spring Training in order to come back. I think we will try to bring him back by the end of the year to see if he is going to be fine."

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wants to see Detwiler before he determines if Detwiler is out for the year.

"I want to see him when I get back. We'll meet with the doctors," Rizzo said. "He is still doing physical therapy -- stretching -- which is the protocol of our medical staff."

If Detwiler is not able to return, the Nationals have to find a fifth starter for the rest of the season. Right-hander Taylor Jordan is on an innings limit after having Tommy John surgery in 2011, so his season is almost over.

If right-hander Ross Ohlendorf is healthy, he most likely will be the guy, but he has been dealing with a tired arm. On July 26, Ohlendorf threw 114 pitches against the Mets and his fastball went down significantly Thursday against the Tigers in a relief outing. His fastball was clocked as high as 85 mph against Detroit. Ohlendorf's heater been touching as high as 97 mph in previous appearances. He will be tested on the mound Monday, according to Johnson.

If Ohlendorf isn't ready to go, the Nationals could go the Minor League system and get a pitcher. Johnson declined to say who the candidate is if Ohlendorf isn't ready to go.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.