NEW YORK - Though they weren’t ready to announce anything this afternoon, the Nationals are preparing to recall Erick Fedde from Triple-A Syracuse and send the right-hander to the mound for Wednesday’s series finale at Yankee Stadium.
Stephen Strasburg would have been scheduled to make the start, but he departed his last outing with shoulder inflammation and was subsequently placed on the disabled list. Fedde also last pitched Friday for Syracuse, so that makes him available for this assignment if the club so chooses.
“We haven’t decided yet,” manager Davey Martinez said. “I could tell you that it’s Fedde’s turn, but we haven’t decided whether we’re going to do that or something else.”
The Nationals could have considered Jefry Rodriguez, who dazzled in his major league debut as an emergency reliever for the injured Jeremy Hellickson, but the young right-hander started Saturday for Double-A Harrisburg and would have to be brought back on short rest to pitch again Wednesday.
The only way the club would proceed without Fedde would be if Tanner Roark cruised through tonight’s series opener and the bullpen was fresh and available to pitch all nine innings the following night. That’s not an ideal scenario, either, especially with no true long man in the current bullpen.
Fedde gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings Friday against Gwinnett, and over his last two starts the right-hander has 15 strikeouts with zero walks. The 25-year-old was solid in his one major league start last month, holding the Padres scoreless for four innings before surrendering three runs in the fifth and sixth.
If he starts Wednesday, Fedde will be facing a much stiffer challenge in the form of the Yankees lineup.
Update: The return of Daniel Murphy to the Nats lineup hasn’t helped the group get itself going yet tonight. Murphy is 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a popout, the latter coming with two outs and two on in the third. The Nats have two singles and three walks through four innings against CC Sabathia but haven’t been able to push across a run yet. The Yankees, meanwhile, plated two runs in the bottom of the second off Tanner Roark. Didi Gregorius launched a solo homer to right-center to get the rally started, then Austin Romine’s sacrifice fly brought home another to make it 2-0 New York.
Update II: Make it 3-0 Yankees after Gregorius did it again. This time he took Roark deep to right field, crushing a 3-2 fastball in the bottom of the sixth. The Nats lineup, meanwhile, is working on a 16-inning scoring drought.
Update III: It’s over. Not the scoring drought. That has been extended to 19 innings. Tonight’s game, however, is over, the Nats suffering a 3-0 loss. Making matters worse, they lost Bryce Harper to what appeared to be a left foot injury after he was struck by a pitch near his big toe in the top of the eighth. Harper, who walked twice and was hit by two pitches in the game, took himself out before a trainer could even emerge from the dugout. Stay tuned for an update from the clubhouse.