Tuesday was a big morning for the Washington Nationals pitching staff when the team announced Ross Detwiler would be joining teammate Gio Gonzalez in representing Team U.S.A. in the World Baseball Classic in March. Detwiler shared his excitement with Lavar and Dukes.
“Yea, it’s unbelievable,” Detwiler told 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar and Dukes on Tuesday. “When I found out they were inviting me to be on the team, it was one of those childhood dreams. You always want to walk around with the USA across your chest.”
Detwiler, 26, will join Gonzalez in the Team USA rotation, along with R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong and Derek Holland. He said Spring Training will serve as preparation for both the MLB regular season, for which he’ll round out the back of the Nats bullpen, and the WBC.
“You try to make it as like what you’re used to as possible, but it’s kind of untested waters for me,” Detwiler said. “I played in 2006 with the National Team but I think this is a little step higher, but I’ve got Gio Gonzalez going with me, so I think he’s going to keep everything loose.”
Detwiler jumped at the chance to represent his country, but when it dawned on him that he’d be squeezing more than a full season into 2013, he met with his coaches to develop a plan so as to best prepare his body for the heavy workload.
“At first it was a no-brainer and then you kind of have to step back. And that’s why I had to go to Rizzo and Davey and Cat [Nats pitching coach, Steve McCatty]. We all three sat down and talked it out and made sure. We know we have a good staff with team USA that they’re not going to overuse anybody and they know the situation, so that’s why we’re going ahead with it.”
While he’s relieved the Nationals roster will no longer be smothered with questions about Stephen Strasburg’s shutdown date, he did admit that unique situation provided him the perfect opportunity to prove his value to the team in 2012.
“You know what? If that wouldn’t have happened, I would have been in the bullpen and wouldn’t have been able to start Game 4,” Detwiler said. “You never want to shut a guy down, especially if he’s your ace, your workhorse, and that question was around our team the entire second half of the season.”
Unlike the start of last season, all eyes will be on the Nationals in 2013, which negates the element of surprise for this team that seemed to almost propel them to the top of the standings last summer.
“We’re not going to sneak up on anybody this year,” Detwiler said. “They’re going to be ready for us. But I think we have a good enough team to where we can kind of embrace that.”
Listen to the full interview below.
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