PITTSBURGH — Yunesky Maya, Ross Detwiler and Collin Balester all joined the Nationals this morning at PNC Park, though only Balester has officially been recalled from Class AAA Syracuse and is eligible to pitch out of the bullpen today.
Maya and Detwiler will travel with the club back home to Washington and then be recalled. Maya is scheduled to start Tuesday night against the Mets; Detwiler will be used both as a starter and a reliever over the remainder of the season, according to manager Jim Riggleman.
"Right now, we've got about seven starters, so we're going to work [Detwiler] in there wherever we can," Riggleman said. "And hopefully by the end of the year, we'll have a good idea as to what his role will be in the future with this ballclub. But right now, we'd like to have him help us win some ballgames, whether it's as a starter or a reliever."
Riggleman said he may have to tinker around with his rotation over the season's final month to make sure each of the current seven starters (Maya, Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann, Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Scott Olsen) gets a chance to pitch. His preference is to avoid going to a six-man rotation. One possible solution would be to have two starters "piggy-back" off each other, particularly for someone like Zimmermann (who is generally going to be limited to five innings per start). Another starter could then take over for him and pitch three or four innings in relief.
Maya, meanwhile, is experiencing life in the big leagues for the first time. After defecting from Cuba last September, he worked out in the Dominican Republic and signed a four-year, major-league contract with the Nationals in July. He made five starts at three different levels of the minors, going 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA.
"It's a hard league in Triple-A," Maya said through catcher Wil Nieves, who translated for him. "You have veteran hitters. They're pretty selective. So I faced pretty tough hitters, but I felt pretty good."
Maya, 29, battled a nasty blister on his right thumb during a couple of starts, but there's no evidence of it anymore and he said it hasn't been a problem at all.
What does he hope to accomplish the rest of the season now that he's in the big leagues?
"For the rest of the year, I want to be able to get gain experience and learn how to pitch in the big leagues, so I can help the team next year," he said.
"I'm really happy being in the big leagues," Maya added. "It's a dream come true."