Five turned out to be wishful thinking, though, and in recent months, the team has had to reload as various pitchers have fallen victim to injury. Those new players have stepped in and given the team quality starts, and manager Manny Acta said they make his decisions hard when the original players return from injury.
"The numbers are there to show that we lost five out of five guys in the rotation, and these guys have come in and done a nice job for us," Acta said.
The first casualty of the healthy rotation is pitcher Mike Bacsik, who will join the bullpen on Wednesday. He'll be replaced in the rotation by right-hander Shawn Hill, who was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday and started the opener against the Phillies.
Bacsik, who went 5-6 with a 4.76 ERA, is tied for the club lead with seven quality starts. He'll be used in long relief, but Acta described him as a "swing man" who could work a number of different situations.
Bacsik's last relief appearance was on April 3, 2003, with the Mets.
Detweiler to pitch Wednesday: Fans anxious to see the Nationals' future will have the opportunity on Wednesday afternoon.
Left-hander Ross Detweiler, a first-round pick in this year's Draft, will pitch for the Potomac Nationals. The game starts at 12:05 p.m. ET at Pfitzner Stadium.
Young rejoins lineup: First baseman Dmitri Young was back in the lineup on Tuesday after missing the weekend's games with a left hamstring injury.
He was replaced by Robert Fick and Tony Batista during the team's series with Arizona. Young said before Tuesday's game that he was feeling healthy.
Coming up: The Nationals continue a three-game series with Philadelphia on Wednesday. Righty Tim Redding (1-3, 2.86 ERA) faces off against righty Kyle Kendrick (5-2, 3.75 ERA). The battle of right-handers begins at 7:05 p.m. at RFK Stadium.
Michael Phillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.