The Nationals placed Erick Fedde on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation this afternoon, creating a ripple effect on the rest of their rotation as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches.
Fedde, who was supposed to start tonight against the Cardinals, instead went on the IL (retroactive to July 27) after complaining of a sore shoulder following his last start, though he doesn’t believe the issue is serious enough to sideline him for long.
Paolo Espino, originally listed as Sunday’s starter, will pitch tonight instead, though he remains on full rest because of Thursday’s off-day for the team. Josiah Gray and Patrick Corbin also are having their starts bumped up a day, with Gray now slated to pitch Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals and Corbin going Monday against the Mets.
That leaves a rotation hole for Tuesday, with a starter needed to face the Mets. Manager Davey Martinez said that assignment will go to Cory Abbott, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester today, provided the right-hander isn’t needed out of the bullpen tonight.
The injury to Fedde (who is 5-7 with a 4.95 ERA in 19 starts) comes after he threw 99 pitches in only 4 2/3 innings Sunday at Arizona, after which he experienced shoulder soreness.
“It just didn’t feel great throughout the game,” he said. “But it was something I was trying to battle through. I didn’t want to go out there and not be at 100 percent and give the guys the best chance to win.”
Fedde, who hadn’t missed any previous starts this season, underwent an MRI, which he said revealed only inflammation, nothing of greater concern. That leaves him optimistic this isn’t a serious injury and that he'll return soon after he’s eligible to come off the IL.
Asked for his level of concern, the right-hander replied: “Me, personally? Not very high.”
“We’re being more cautious than anything,” Martinez said. “He’s got a little inflammation in his right shoulder. He said he didn’t feel good the next day … so we’re going to put him on the IL, see if this calms things down. And hopefully, it won’t take long for him to rejoin the rotation.”
Abbott, who is 0-4 with a 5.08 ERA in 10 games (six starts) for Rochester, was recalled to take Fedde’s roster spot. The 26-year-old, who has made two prior relief appearances for the Nationals this summer, allowed one run in four innings in his most recent start Sunday. He’s available out of the bullpen tonight, but if he’s not needed he will start Tuesday against the Mets, according to Martinez.
“He’s actually done well the little stint he’s been here,” the manager said. “And after talking to (the Rochester coaching staff), he’s been throwing the ball well. We thought we’d bring him up.”
Abbott may be pitching well, but he hasn’t been pitching nearly as well as Cade Cavalli, who hasn’t allowed an earned run in any of his last three starts at Triple-A. The Nationals, though, continue to take things slowly with their top pitching prospect, and Martinez reiterated today they will call him up only when they deem he’s ready, not based on the big league club’s current rotation needs.
“We don’t want to rush his development,” Martinez said. “We’ve got to go back to the pandemic year (2020), when guys didn’t really do much. That was part of his development. He didn’t get to pitch in ’20. We take that into consideration. He needs to just build innings. And he is getting better, believe me.
“There’s no one that wants him here more than (general manager Mike Rizzo) and myself. Because I know when he does get here, he’s going to help us. But we’ve got to be smart about it. And I think Riz has done a great job of holding him back. Because there have been times when he’s been really good. We sit down and say: ‘Oh, man, this could be (the time). But then we sit down and say: ‘What’s best for Cade right now?’ And that’s to continue to let him develop.
“He’s going to be here. He’ll be here soon. But we’ve got to stay strong and not try to push him up here. Just continue to let him develop, get stronger.”