The Nationals got Bryce Harper back today, and they're getting good news on a couple other banged-up players, as well.
Ross Detwiler threw a bullpen session today and came out feeling just fine, according to manager Davey Johnson.
Detwiler had felt some stiffness in the left side of his lower back after Friday's start against the Mets, and it looked for a bit like the Nats might need to skip his next turn in the rotation - this Wednesday - and go with long reliever Ross Ohlendorf instead. But Detwiler has felt better over the last couple days, and as long as he doesn't experience any day-after issues, the lefty will be good to go on Wednesday.
"I told (pitching coach Steve) McCatty, he was raving about the 'pen and so was (GM Mike) Rizzo, and I said, 'Let's make sure he has a good night's sleep and didn't get dehydrated and start spasming up,' " Johnson said. "I think he's going to be fine. If there was a problem, it would be Ohlendorf out of the pen, taking his spot."
In an ideal world, Ohlendorf would be able to get in an inning or two tonight in order to get him in line for Wednesday just in case he is needed to step in and make a spot-start, but Johnson won't force the issue there. It also helps that Ohlendorf has shown the ability to come in and pitch in different situations without being on a set throwing schedule.
"I think he started once, then sat about eight days, then came back and threw three innings, 77 pitches," Johnson said. "Then he threw the other day in New York so I'll check with him, but the pen's pretty rested after yesterday."
Catcher Wilson Ramos has missed the last 41 games with a hamstring injury, but the Nationals expect to have their opening day catcher back by the end of the week.
Ramos has joined high Single-A Potomac after two games with the Gulf Coast League Nationals, and he's slated to catch seven innings tonight. Assuming all goes well, he'll be able to catch nine innings and could join Triple-A Syracuse when they play at Lehigh Valley on Wednesday.
Johnson said the Nats are hopeful that Ramos could be ready to come off the DL as soon as Thursday, but later in the week might be more realistic.
Reliever Ryan Mattheus, on the DL with a broken right hand, is still throwing off flat ground, although he might be getting close to getting back on a mound soon. The right-hander has grown out a pretty thick beard while on the disabled list the last five weeks, rivaling ones we've seen from Jayson Werth (currently) and Danny Espinosa (back in spring training).
"He's throwing pretty good," Johnson said. "I hope we get him out here before he changes into Rip Van Winkle or something. I can't hardly recognize him. That thing's growing out ... It's like he's trying to get it past Werth."
Meanwhile, pitcher turned position player Micah Owings, who has spent the first three months of the season at Triple-A Syracuse, asked for and was granted his release today.
Owings posted decent numbers for Syracuse, hitting 265/.305/.480 with eight homers, 31 RBIs, 10 walks and 71 strikeouts in 200 at-bats.The 30-year-old outfielder, who won 32 games in six big league seasons as a pitcher, had been red-hot lately, hitting .370/.393/.852 with three homers and four doubles in his last 10 games.
The 6-foot-5 Owings impressed the Nats back in spring training and showed he has pop in his bat this season, but there wasn't much room for him to grow within the Nationals' system. He'll now hit the free agent market and will have a chance to put himself in a better spot to reach the big leagues again.
Owings is truly a good guy, and I wish him the best.