03/19/12 4:53 PM ET
Inbox: When will Detwiler get his chance?
Nats beat reporter Bill Ladson answers questions from fans
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
-- Sebastian L., McLean, Va.
After spending so much time on his mechanics, I thought the Nationals would put Detwiler in the rotation, but they ended up signing Edwin Jackson. With Chien-Ming Wang injured, it would not surprise me if Detwiler was given a chance as the fifth starter, although manager Davey Johnson announced recently that John Lannan would be the guy for now. Detwiler will eventually get his chance. He is ready to be a star.
With Jesus Flores having such a good spring at the plate, do you think he has a chance to replace Wilson Ramos as the No. 1 catcher?
-- Richard H., Toronto
The answer is no. Ramos has to be in a serious slump to lose his job. At the same time, I have to say Flores is not a bench player. He is a quality everyday catcher. He has showed that when he plays often, he can be a productive hitter.
I don't want to give up on Ian Desmond as a leadoff hitter, but his stats are dismal. Also, Danny Espinosa doesn't appear to be a fit as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup. If things don't improve over the next week, what is Johnson's Plan B?
-- Dean O., Winnipeg, Canada
Plan B is Stephen Lombardozzi. He is outperforming both Desmond and Espinosa this spring. No matter what happens, Desmond and Espinosa are going to be the double-play combination to start the season, but if one of them gets off to a bad start, you can bet that Lombardozzi will be in that starting lineup.
Lannan might not be an ace, but he has been a good pitcher with the Nationals. I think trading him would be a mistake. Why not keep him on the team?
-- Alex C., Montreal
If the season started today, Lannan would be Washington's fifth starter because of the injury to Wang. But despite the injury to Wang, I was told by a baseball source that the Nationals would still consider trading Lannan. But as the source told me, general manager Mike Rizzo is not going to give Lannan away. The Tigers are one team who could have interest.
Since Stephen Strasburg will be limited to 160 innings this year, has there been any discussions about him missing a start or two? This way we still have him available if the Nats get into the postseason.
-- Jim M., Bakersfield, Calif.
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To answer the first question, Strasburg is expected to miss some starts because of the innings limit. It happened with Jordan Zimmermann last season. Once Strasburg reaches his innings limit, he probably would not play in the postseason. We'll see.
Is the front office even a bit worried about Desmond's lack of hitting so far in Spring Training?
-- Tom L., Santiago, Chile
The question should be: Is Johnson concerned? The answer is no. He is not the type of person that looks at Spring Training stats. Johnson wants Desmond to be ready for Opening Day, which he will be.
With Ryan Zimmerman signing a long-term contract, what position do you see Anthony Rendon playing in the future?
-- Gary S., Flint, Mich.
Rendon is going to start the season with Class A Potomac as a third baseman and will see action as a shortstop.
With all the talk about the Nats trading for a center fielder and waiting it out for the 2013 free-agent class, what about Eury Perez and Michael Taylor? Do you think they have a future in the outfield?
-- Jimmy H., Washington
We know that Bryce Harper is the future center fielder, but Taylor and Perez have bright futures in the Nats' outfield. Perez was impressive during Spring Training, and we might see him in the big leagues by the end of this season. Taylor will be in the big leagues in two or three years. He is expected to start the season with Class A Potomac.