One night after watching Chien-Ming Wang labor through another start while Ross Detwiler dominated out of the bullpen, Nationals manager Davey Johnson has decided to have the two pitchers swap roles again.
Detwiler will return to the Nationals' rotation and start Sunday's game in Baltimore, with Wang returning to a long reliever's role as the club tries to get the veteran right-hander back on track.
The decision was made in the wake of Tuesday night's game, which saw Wang last only 3 13 inning and allow five runs on seven hits and three walks, then saw Detwiler retire 11 of the 12 batters he faced out of the bullpen.
"If you had compared Detwiler's performance last night with his last two outings, it's a totally different pitcher," Johnson said. "He was dominating last night, very aggressive after the hitters. And his last two starts, he was kind of pitching defensively, not attacking the hitter. I think the stint in the bullpen, if anything, helped him."
Wang, who posted a 6.62 ERA and a staggering 2.264 WHIP over his four starts, will continue to be used on a starter's schedule out of the bullpen. He'll also work with pitching coach Steve McCatty on a mechanical glitch that has caused Wang's throwing arm to lag behind his body and affect his ability to command his trademark sinker.
"I really like where his arm strength is at, but I need him to get back comfortable," Johnson said. "I was hoping he could work it out starting, but in conversations with McCatty I think maybe it would be best to see if he can't work it out with less stress on him."
The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018.
Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.
Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.
The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.
Only the Marlins have had as many.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."
"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand."
The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.
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While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report.
Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:
"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."
"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.
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