A lot of talk has centered around John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez, Tom Gorzelanny and Jordan Zimmermann as the potential five starters for the Nationals when the season gets going past the off-days early in April.
Making it interesting, though, is the potential of Ross Detwiler and Yunesky Maya. Detwiler is returning from a nagging hip injury, and Maya is learning on the job after his quick introduction to the big leagues late last season.
Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said Detwiler did all the right things in the offseason to get ready for spring training. Detwiler's mechanics have looked good so far in Viera, Fla.
"He went back and did his rehab," McCatty said. "He said he felt 100 percent. His hip felt great. He worked on his stride. We worked on it at the end of the year. He got down to Florida early."
McCatty said he still believes the lefthander's arsenal can be lethal at the top level.
"Detwiler has tremendous stuff, too," McCatty said. "I mean he really does. With the soreness being gone, he has (been able to) work on his stride. I believe that a lot of things are going to come back to him, talking about his velocity. The one thing I want him to be able to do is get pitches to his glove side. I think the kid has got a lot of talent."
Maya got his feet wet last year and McCatty feels the Cuban-born pitcher can make an impact this season, but maybe at a more measured pace.
"I said it all last year, the guy has been forced to come back so quick," McCatty said. "I had asked him about it basically in the bullpen one day talking about it towards the end of the season, he said he hadn't really pitched in a year and a half. "You expect a guy after having seven or eight starts to get back to pitching the way he was capable of after having such a long time off? That is really hard to do."
But McCatty noticed improvements with each start for Maya, and he shows the determination to battle through every at bat and never concede a pitch.
"I kept saying his stuff was getting better every time," McCatty said. "I see improvements in all the stuff he does. Hopefully, he can pitch like I think he is capable of pitching. I think he has got great control. He throws a little firmer than you think. He has that big over hand curveball. The guy competes."
McCatty believes it was really tough on Maya because of the "cultural shock of getting over here and being away from his family and the language barrier. I think he is going to be a lot better."