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VIERA, Fla. -- Ross Detwiler said he only began feeling significant pain in his right hip in the last month, not last season, and said he believes he can return to the mound in about 10 weeks following Monday's surgery.
"I'm really in not much pain," the left-hander said today, standing in the Nationals' clubhouse with the aid of crutches. "They said I'd be tossing without rotation in my hip in four weeks, then throwing in six weeks and I could possibly be in a game in 10 weeks. It's a whole lot quicker than I thought it would be."
Detwiler, who turns 24 on March 6, tiptoed a bit around the subject when asked if the hip injury bothered him last season, saying: "It's 162 games. You have aches and pains." But he did not think it was anything serious enough to mention to team personnel in October. Once he experienced more significant pain last month upon resuming workouts at Space Coast Stadium, he began to be concerned it could be serious.
"Once I arrived in Florida in mid-to-late January, something just didn't feel right," he said. "So I went to the trainer that was here, and he said let's get you an MRI. [Team orthopedist Bruce] Thomas said it doesn't look very good, so let's send you out to [Colorado specialist Marc] Philippon and get a second opinion. He said surgery [was required] and did it the same day I was out there."
Hoping to pick up where he left off late last season -- he posted a 1.90 ERA in five September appearances -- Detwiler was a strong candidate to win one of three open spots in the Nationals' rotation this spring. Instead, he'll be forced to walk on crutches for three weeks, won't begin throwing until the time camp breaks and won't be ready to pitch until late April at best.
But Detwiler insisted he's not demoralized by the developments of the past week.
"Maybe I will miss a little time," he said. "But I think this is going to be for the best and I'll be a lot stronger coming off this."