Nationals right-hander Dan Haren will return to the mound for Monday's series opener against the Phillies -- the only Major League team he has never beaten -- while hoping that two weeks of rest was the answer to his early-season struggles.
Haren, who had been sidelined for the past two weeks while dealing with right shoulder inflammation, will toe the rubber for the first time since June 22. The righty was placed on the disabled list following that outing, which lasted just 3 2/3 innings and resulted in Haren's sixth straight loss. He is just 4-9 with a 6.15 ERA in 16 starts.
Despite not making any rehab appearances, Haren completed a three-inning simulated game on Wednesday, a bullpen session on Saturday and played long toss on Sunday. With no issues in any of those activities, Haren's return was bumped up to Monday in place of scheduled starter Ross Detwiler, who in turn took Haren's place on the DL over the weekend.
"With the rest, I was going to feel fresh. Hopefully that's what I needed to get back doing some good things in helping the ballclub," Haren said after last week's simulated game. "I'm getting the ball to where I usually do. Before, the last couple of games, I always long tossed between starts and before the game, and it was a struggle to get the ball there. My arm is moving faster."
For Haren, his return also comes just in time to give him his third chance this season -- and seventh overall -- to defeat Philadelphia. Haren, who will be countered by former Nationals starter John Lannan, is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies.
Haren will look to get off the schneid in Monday's series opener, while also helping the Nats extend their winning streak. Washington is coming off its first sweep since April 9-11 and has won four straight, one shy of its season high.
"I mean, we've had some bumps in the road with injuries and stuff, but the character and makeup of this club is great," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "Even through the rough times, I haven't seen anybody getting overly concerned. Everybody's starting to swing the bats and that's been a big concern, [and] the bullpen's straightened out."
Nationals: Detwiler returns to DL
Instead of starting Monday's series opener as expected, Detwiler finds himself in the midst of his second stint on the disabled list this season.
Detwiler, who missed nearly a month earlier this year with a strained oblique, was placed on the DL this time around after experiencing discomfort in his back during a bullpen session on Saturday. Detwiler is 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 13 starts this season, but 0-3 with a 6.31 ERA since returning from his first DL trip on June 13.
"He didn't look the same in his last start, either," Johnson said. "Hopefully if he has to miss a couple starts, he can get some more time off with the [All-Star] break. We just want him back 100 percent."
Phillies: Lannan looking for consistency
Facing his former club for the second time in three weeks, Lannan will be hoping to bounce back from a rough outing Wednesday against the Pirates.
The lefty conceded a season-high 11 hits, while allowing four runs, over just five innings of work. Since returning from the DL on June 17, Lannan is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA, to go along with 14 strikeouts and eight walks over four starts.
That June 17 outing was also Lannan's first against the Nationals, with whom he spent his first six Major League seasons. He allowed two runs off six hits over five innings and settled for a no-decision against his former club.
• Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche is 0-for-12 with five strikeouts lifetime against Lannan.