Detwiler says hip is healthy, ready for Viera

Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler has had a productive offseason as he recovers from a nagging hip injury that slowed down his 2010 season.

Due to the injury, Detwiler was limited to five starts in 2010, appearing in eight games with a 1-3 record and finishing with a 4.25 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.

Detwiler has been working out in his native Missouri in the offseason under the direction of Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz and believes he will be ready to go for spring training.

"It is feeling like I am going to go into camp at 100 percent," Detwiler said. "I am actually on my way right now to work out. I am working out at a place here in St. Louis that Lee Kuntz set me up with to do therapy after the season. Then I went over the weight side. They are working me out here and making sure I am good and strong, especially with the hip."

Like John Lannan, who fought through an injury and made his way back, Detwiler said it was difficult to be productive on the mound while thinking about how the hip would respond to constant motion.

"Not only was it a physical strain, but it was also a mental strain," Detwiler remembered. "You never know when you are going to be back to 100 percent. I think I pushed it a little early last year and I had to go down (to the minors on a rehabilitation assignment). I felt like, at the end of the year, I was throwing on one leg. I am excited to be out there and be healthy again."

Detwiler was able to put together a nice win over the Houston Astros at the end of last season, but admitted even then he felt a little pain and fatigue in the hip joint.

"I wouldn't say I was all the way back in the win," Detwiler said. "I would say that was the best I felt. But there would be a little soreness and a little aggravation that would come and I would say it wasn't there as much as it was in other games."

Detwiler points to being injury-free to begin spring training next month as a key component to a long and successful regular season versus the medical hardships that slowed down 2010 before he could get going.

"I think that this season will be a whole lot better for me because I am going to have all the work done in the offseason," Detwiler said. "Last year, I did all my off season work and then I had surgery in February (2010) and I lost everything. I feel like I am going into this year a lot stronger and I will last a lot longer throughout the season."

Detwiler is working on his delivery and making sure he doesn't throw across his body again.

"I was kind of doing that because that was the only thing that really felt comfortable for me last year," Detwiler said. "Going into Florida next month, I am really going to hone in on spring training and get my old mechanics back and be able to throw the ball where I want and have a lot more drive towards the plate and not losing everything because I was stepping towards the on deck circle."

Detwiler also realizes there is an opportunity in the starting five for the Nationals' staff. Therefore, he believes this is a big season in his career.

"I definitely think this is the most important time in my career right now," Detwiler said. "Obviously, it hasn't gone as I wanted it to so far. I am very confident going into spring training."

Listen to the complete interview with Detwiler at nationals360.com.

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