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Shifted to bullpen role, Detwiler moving forward

Awaiting defined role, lefty tosses scoreless inning in first relief outing

Shifted to bullpen role, Detwiler moving forward play video for Shifted to bullpen role, Detwiler moving forward

VIERA, Fla. -- Two days after he was told that he was starting the season in the bullpen, Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler didn't show any emotions with the media Wednesday.

"I've still got to go out there, pitch and get outs," Detwiler said. "I can't really dwell on the negatives. I take as much positives as you can and go out and prove that you can get outs."

Detwiler does not necessarily have a defined role, according to manager Matt Williams. Detwiler could be a long man, a lefty specialist or could pitch an inning or two.

"They haven't told me exactly my role is going to be. That's one thing we'll address once they tell me exactly where I fit in," Detwiler said.

Asked if he saw his new role as a demotion, he said, "I don't know. I have no comment on that."

Detwiler hasn't had much success this spring as a starter, allowing five runs in seven innings, while opposing hitters had a .412 batting average against him.

"I'm healthy. I thought I was throwing the ball well. That's kind of for you guys to decide how I'm doing," he said.

Detwiler considers himself a starter, but he is not hoping that someone gets hurt for him to allow him rejoin the rotation.

"We are in it to win. It's going to hurt worse if we don't win the whole thing," Detwiler said.

In Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Astros, Detwiler entered the game in the sixth inning and didn't allow a run.

"We got him in there against three straight lefties, which was good," Williams said. "He was aggressive. He threw breaking balls for outs -- one for a strikeout, one for a groundout. The secret to his success there is his fastball is in the zone. I saw aggression. That's what I like. That's what he likes.

"[Pitching in] back-to-back [games] is not necessary at this point. We'll see how it ends up. It may be a back-to-back where he is coming in and facing one guy and come back the next day. I wouldn't necessarily think he was going to go back-to-back innings at this point."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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