The Nationals wasted no time placing Erick Fedde on the disabled list, even though they don’t expect the right-hander to miss significant time with his shoulder injury. And they wasted no time calling up Jefry Rodriguez to replace Fedde in the rotation ... unless the rookie is needed in emergency relief of Jeremy Hellickson tonight.
Fedde, who departed Wednesday morning’s game after only 25 pitches when his shoulder was “having trouble getting loose,” underwent an MRI afterward that revealed only inflammation and no structural damage. The 25-year-old was generally encouraged by the news, but he’ll have to be shut down for at least a little while after the Nats placed him on the 10-day DL.
“He’s got a little inflammation in his throwing shoulder. For us, that’s good,” manager Davey Martinez said. “He’s on the DL. We’re going to give it some time to strengthen and recover and see where we go from there.”
The Nationals don’t need a replacement starter for Fedde until his spot comes up again Monday in Pittsburgh, but they went ahead and recalled Rodriguez from Triple-A Syracuse today. That’s not necessarily because they intend to start the lanky 24-year-old in that game against the Pirates. He could be needed as soon as this evening, pending Hellickson’s status.
Hellickson came down with the bug that has affected other members of the Nationals in recent days, most notably backup catcher Spencer Kieboom. The veteran will make tonight’s start against the Marlins as planned, but the Nats are prepared to bring in Rodriguez, who threw 92 pitches for Syracuse on Friday, leaving him fully rested if needed.
“Hellickson is not feeling well,” Martinez said. “He’s going to go out there and see what he can give us.”
The Nationals don’t know yet how they’ll proceed with their rotation beyond this weekend’s series, but they won’t be bumping up Stephen Strasburg’s timeline to return from his own shoulder injury. Strasburg, out since June 8 with inflammation, is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game this weekend and then go on a minor league rehab assignment.
If all goes according to plan, the Nationals expect to slot Strasburg back into their rotation coming out of the All-Star break.
Matt Wieters, meanwhile, ran the bases this afternoon and put his surgically repaired hamstring through its most rigorous test yet. The veteran catcher said he ran as close to normal as he has since his surgery in May and that he felt no problems in his left leg.
Martinez said the tentative plan is to send Wieters on a rehab assignment this weekend, which means he could return before the All-Star break.
Ryan Zimmerman is going to start running bases either Friday or Saturday, according to Martinez, after which he will go on a rehab assignment that also could have him back from his oblique strain shortly before the All-Star break.