Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ross Detwiler--Having Fun Playing Baseball Again

Every single day Ross Detwiler trained on the practice fields of Space Coast Stadium these past two weeks, a smile flashed across his face. After pitching two scoreless innings yesterday against The New York Mets during Our Washington Nationals Spring Home Opener a huge grin was noticeable as Detwiler walked to the home dugout to shake hands with his manager, coaches and staff.

Suffering a torn right hip cartilage that was surgically repaired just as 2010 Spring Training began, Ross missed three full months in rehabilitation. He was depressed. During that time away from the game and his teammates, Washington's 2007 First Round Draft Pick realized how much he missed the game and refocused his commitment--wishing to return to the promising and talented lefty pitcher many saw in him coming out of Missouri State University.

In 2011 Spring Training, Ross Detwiler is leaving an impression again. A good one. His manager Jim Riggleman and Pitching Coach Steve McCatty have offered praise over what they've witnessed in the short span of time since Pitchers & Catcher reported to Viera, Florida. Against The Mets yesterday, Detwiler's fastball reached a high of 93 MPH.

The 25-year old looked good but more importantly--Ross Detwiler is having fun playing baseball again.

Nats320 caught up with Ross Detwiler to ask him about his early spring performances:

Nats320: Knowing you were depressed to be sitting on the sidelines last spring training with your hip injury, how rewarding is it to be back out here on the field competing for a job?

Detwiler: You kind of take everything for granted until you don’t have it anymore. I don’t feel that way anymore. I used to hate running before. And while we were just running I was thinking how happy I am to be out here on the field doing it this year. It actually feels like my first spring training again.

But looking back, what’s been really depressing is not being able to make the next step forward. Last year was a huge step backwards. Trying to regain my footing, getting back to what I was before the injury, so I can press on further.

Nats320: With every drill, every inning pitched, being more important for you, are you increasing the self-pressure to get back to where you think you should be?

Detwiler: I wouldn’t say I’m adding pressure. What I want to do is go out there and get the job done and not think about the pressure. In fact, by just doing that, it takes some of the pressure off.

Nats320: As a player you sometimes don’t know what the coaches and front office are thinking. When they look at you now—what do want them to see in you?

Detwiler: They are going to think about what they want to think. But I want to go out there to the mound, throw well, and leave that thought in their minds. That’s the plan.

Nats320: We hear many people talking about you throwing across your body and that’s not good for your mechanics. Has that issue been straightened out?

Detwiler: A lot of that led up to my hip injury. Before the injury, I was setting up on the left side of the pitcher’s plate and throwing around my forward plant foot, making things more difficult by shifting my weight off balance. Having my hip repaired now allows me to go out there and be more fluid. I am not fighting my mechanics anymore.  I am setting up on the right sight side of the pitching rubber. And instead of throwing around my body, my setup and delivery is more up and down. As a result, I am being very consistent and I’m getting better command of my pitches. The fastball always comes first, then the off-speed stuff. But I’ve been throwing off-speed a lot to get a feel for it early in the spring.

Nats320: As strong as you feel and as well as you are doing in camp early, how disappointed would you be if you didn’t make the Opening Day roster?

Detwiler: I would be disappointed no matter what—if I didn’t make the team. It’s the overall goal. It’s the goal of every single person here in camp. If it doesn’t happen, I want to make it happen more sooner than later. Bottom line though—I am happy to be back out here. You don’t realize how much you miss it until you can’t play due to injury.

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