Nationals starter Ross Detwiler has been sidelined for the last month due to a herniated disk in his lower back. Reports from a week and a half ago estimated the lefty may miss another month, leading to a late August return, but the latest from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post suggests Detwiler may not return at all.
Detwiler visited specialist Robert Watkins Sr., a renowned back surgeon based in California, last month for a second opinion. Watkins diagnosed the herniated disk and prescribed a month of rest and anti-inflammatory medication.
By that point, Detwiler will not have pitched in about two months. The Nationals would place Detwiler on a full throwing program to rebuild his arm strength, “almost like you go through spring training again,” Johnson said.
Kilgore does add that the Nationals are still hoping to bring him back in September to see where he’s at, whether or not the team is still a contender in the NL East and Wild Card races. Before landing on the DL, Detwiler posted a 4.04 ERA in 71.1 innings over 13 starts.
In Detwiler’s absence, rookie Taylor Jordan has filled in admirably, compiling a 3.31 ERA in 35.1 innings over six starts.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.