After watching the right-hander dazzle during a four-inning relief appearance against the Padres earlier this week, the Nats decided not to move him back to the rotation at Double-A Harrisburg but instead to let him continue to work as a reliever. If things go well, they’ll likely bring him back to the majors sometime in the near future and see if he can help resolve the club’s biggest problem area.
“We’re going to move him to the bullpen, and get him ready and kind of build him up,” manager Davey Martinez said.
The Nationals held off for several days before making the decision, knowing Fedde wasn’t going to pitch again until at least Friday after throwing 49 pitches during his four scoreless innings of relief earlier in the week. He was in line to pitch in relief for Harrisburg on Friday, but the game was called after five innings due to rain.
Fedde did appear out of the Senators bullpen tonight. He pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out two while throwing 19 total pitches.
The Nationals now will figure out how to fully transition the 26-year-old into the role full-time.
“We want him to get comfortable just coming out of the bullpen first before we decide where we’re going to use him,” Martinez said. “He has to get comfortable. It’s a different routine.”
But the club’s intention appears clear: Fedde ideally will rejoin the Nationals in the near future, and like fellow former starter Joe Ross, will be asked to pitch important innings for a bullpen that was the majors’ worst through most of the season’s first month.
That doesn’t necessarily mean both right-handers will be relievers the rest of their respective careers. But for now, the Nationals are committed to it.
“We still believe in them as being future starters for us,” Martinez said. “But right now it’s kind of a necessity where we’re at. Our bullpen’s shaping up fairly well right now. But if somebody goes down or something, we feel like Fedde can come up and help us in that role.”
Meanwhile, the Nationals traded reliever Austin Adams to the Mariners today for minor league left-handed reliever Nick Wells and cash considerations. Adams had been designated for assignment earlier this week.
Update: Just when you figured the Nationals couldn’t suffer any more injuries, they did. Matt Adams wowed onlookers with a big play at first base in the bottom of the second, in which he first dove to snag a sharp grounder to his right and then dove to first base to record the out. But when the bottom of the third arrived, Adams did not take the field. The club announced he left the game with a “jammed left shoulder.” Howie Kendrick has replaced him at first base, with Wilmer Difo taking over at third base. The game is tied 2-2, with the Nats scoring first on Kendrick’s double-play grounder and Brian Dozier’s solo homer. The Phillies got a sacrifice fly from J.T. Realmuto and an RBI double from Jean Segura.
Update II: They’ve played another inning, which means they’ve lost another player to injury. Yep. This time it’s Michael A. Taylor, who jammed his left wrist trying to make a diving catch in shallow center field in the bottom of the second. Taylor stayed in for another inning, but when the bottom of the fourth arrived, he was replaced by Victor Robles. Meanwhile, the Phillies have re-taken the lead, 3-2, on Andrew McCutchen’s two-out RBI single in the fourth off Patrick Corbin, who has thrown 79 pitches already.
Update III: Give the Nats credit. They’re depleted, but they’re battling. They have tied the game again, 3-3, thanks to Adam Eaton’s sac fly in the top of the fifth. Long way to go in this one still.