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Staff health key as GM Rizzo weighs options

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."

Tom Schad is an associate reporter for Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
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