7/21/2013 1:00 A.M. ET
Staff health key as GM Rizzo weighs options
By Tom Schad and Bill Ladson / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- With the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline looming, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo knows that he will have a few important decisions to make.
Dan Haren has struggled for much of this season and Ross Detwiler is serving his second stint on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain, creating doubt at the back end of the Nats' rotation. Rizzo said before Saturday night's game that Detwiler's health will influence whether he tries to add a starting pitcher.
"I want to make sure that I know where Detwiler's at first. That's the most important thing," Rizzo said. "If Detwiler is healthy, then that helps me make any and all decisions that I have to make."
Rookie Taylor Jordan has been a solid replacement for the Nationals, and he will continue to fill in while Detwiler is on the disabled list. But Jordan is also on an innings limit after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2011, creating a potential problem as the season progresses.
Rizzo would not specify what Jordan's innings limit is or how close the right-hander is to hitting it, saying only that "we've got parameters in mind and he'll pitch up to them and then not pitch anymore."
"He's thrown the ball great, no doubt about it," Rizzo added. "I like his stuff, I like his demeanor. He commands three pitches and he's got good life to all three of his pitches. He's a real Major League starting pitcher."
Rizzo also supported slumping utility man Chad Tracy, who boosted his batting average to .174 from .149 by going 3-for-5 on Saturday night.
"Chad Tracy is a good left-handed pinch-hitter. There's no doubt," Rizzo said. "You guys know, it's a very difficult job to come off the bench and pinch-hit. And I think he's shown through his career that he does it well."
Detwiler likely out for rest of homestand
WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said on Saturday that Ross Detwiler likely will not start a game on this homestand, as previously had been hoped. The left-hander threw an abbreviated bullpen session before Saturday night's game, but he is still dealing with a back strain.
"He's still not quite right, so he's going to have to wait a couple days and try to get up on the mound," Johnson said.
Detwiler threw 20-25 pitches on Saturday, but pitching coach Steve McCatty told Johnson that the southpaw was not getting full extension in his follow-through. Detwiler will need to throw a couple of bullpen sessions before heading out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
The back injury has lingered for most of Detwiler's season. He missed 24 games in May and June before returning briefly and making five starts. Then he aggravated the injury on July 3 and was placed back on the disabled list on July 7, retroactive to July 4.
General manager Mike Rizzo did not comment on the severity of Detwiler's injury, but Johnson said that he is concerned by the duration and persistence of the strain.
"I don't know. A lot of times it's needing to have an adjustment, but nothing so far has worked that great," Johnson said. "I'm sure that it is something we're concerned about and we're going to definitely not have him rush back out, push him. He's a gutty young man. He'd take the ball and go out there the way he is. We want him to have no discomfort. He's got too great a future."
Hairston happy for brother's chance in DC
WASHINGTON -- Dodgers infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston said he was pleased to learn that the Cubs traded his younger brother, Scott Hairston, to the Nationals for Minor League pitcher Ivan Pineyro last month, because Scott has a chance to win in Washington and play with teammates Jerry is familiar with. Jerry played for the Nationals in 2011 before he was traded to the Brewers in July of that year.
"Obviously, [the Nationals] are not out of [the pennant race]," Jerry Hairston said. "They know how to win and have fun. I told him to be excited about it; you are in D.C. I enjoyed my time here, even though it was only three months or so."
Scott Hairston brings pop and a veteran presence off the bench. Since the trade, he is 2-for 8 (.250) and has played primarily against left-handed pitching. Overall, Hairston is hitting .178 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs.
"He has a lot of power. He really didn't get a whole lot of at-bats out in Chicago. He had eight home runs in 99 at-bats, which is ridiculous," Jerry Hairston said. "We as players know that if you get a chance to run some at-bats together, you can go on a run. [Scott] is that type of guy.
"He hits left-handed pitchers really well. He can hit right-handers, too. He just didn't get that opportunity in Chicago. I know they are going younger and have a different approach, which is fine. But that's really good what Chicago did. They gave him a chance to go and be a part of a winning team. That was big."
• Adam LaRoche missed his second consecutive game on Saturday with flu-like symptoms, and he is still day to day.
"I think it's the full-blown flu, not just a 24-hour thing," Johnson said, "so I told him, 'Don't rush in here, just try to sleep.'"
• Rizzo said that 2012 first-round Draft pick Lucas Giolito is progressing nicely in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Giolito has pitched six innings in the Gulf Coast League, allowing a combined two earned runs with six walks and eight strikeouts.
"He's throwing free and easy, he has no pain, his recovery is great," Rizzo said. "His arm feels normal, strong, and his velocity's been great. That's the first sign that the rehab is going according to plan."
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.