Strasburg could start Saturday, Detwiler progressing (and more)

It’s fair to wonder whether all the roster moves the Nationals made today were made with the intention of shaking things up and giving the team a spark after a mediocre start to the season.

According to general manager Mike Rizzo, that wasn’t the case.

“Well it wasn’t for the jolt scenario, more so than getting guys here that gives us the best chance to win baseball games,” Rizzo said. “It has nothing to do with trying something different. It’s putting the best 25 out there at this particular time to help us win baseball games.

“Now, decisions would be different if we had a full healthy team throughout the whole season and we were hitting on all cylinders. But we’re not healthy, we’re trying to piece together a lineup to help us scratch out and score enough runs to win some games, so we felt that to get healthy players in there to give us the best chance score offensively as we can.”

Two of the Nationals’ starting pitchers might be on their way to getting healthy. Stephen Strasburg has progressed since being removed from Friday’s start at Atlanta after two innings due to a strained lat, and the Nats are still hoping he’ll be able to avoid the disabled list.

As expected, the Nats have decided to skip Strasburg’s scheduled start on Thursday, instead using yesterday’s off day to bump up Gio Gonzalez and have him pitch Thursday on normal rest. The plan for now is to have Strasburg throw a bullpen session tomorrow, and if all goes well, he could possibly rejoin the rotation the next time his turn comes up, which would be Saturday against the Twins.

“The report I got on Monday from (pitching coach Steve McCatty) is he was feeling a lot better,” manager Davey Johnson said. “So he would probably throw a ‘pen tomorrow and be available to start (June 8).”

Ross Detwiler is also coming along well as he works back from a strained muscle in his back. Detwiler has been out since leaving his start early on May 15, but he’s scheduled to throw off a mound on Saturday, Johnson said, and could possibly be back in the Nats’ rotation next week.

“So he’s coming along, too,” Johnson said.

Johnson confirmed that with all the moving parts in the rotation, Nathan Karns will get another start. The rookie right-hander would be lined up to pitch Friday against the Twins.

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