With “newfound confidence,” Fedde excelling in bullpen

Here’s one thing that’s going well for the Nationals right now: Erick Fedde as a reliever.

Long touted as the organization’s top starting prospect, Fedde has made a smooth transition to the bullpen over the last two weeks and is thriving in his new role.

It’s only four total outings, but Fedde has yet to allow a run in eight innings of work, with only three hits surrendered in the process.

“I have a newfound confidence right now,” he said. “And I’m just trying to ride it out.”

So are the Nationals, who made the move earlier this month because of their pressing need for more quality relievers and so far have reaped the benefits.

Fedde-Delivers-Blue-Sidebar.jpgFedde continued his strong run with two scoreless innings during Tuesday night’s loss to the Mets, retiring all six batters faced. (That included a weird play in which it appeared Fedde failed to touch first base after receiving a throw from Gerardo Parra in the top of the seventh, a play that surprisingly was upheld on replay review. Fedde afterward insisted he did get a spike on the base, and he both felt it and heard it, as did umpire Cory Blaser.)

Given Fedde’s newfound success and the struggles of the back end of the Nationals’ rotation, it’s perhaps only fair to wonder whether the club might reconsider and make him a starter again. That’s not in anyone’s plans at the moment, though.

“For right now, I like what he’s doing,” manager Davey Martinez said. “After the games, he’s telling me he feels good. He’s not laboring. ... He had made comments about being ready to pitch back-to-back days. We’ll see about that.”

At some point, the Nationals do need to give that a try. Fedde did appear twice in a three-day stretch during last week’s road trip, but he has yet to take the mound on back-to-back days, a requisite for most big league relievers.

He’s ready to give it a try.

“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “I guess I’m curious. I think it’s something that I can handle, and I look forward to the new challenges of being in the bullpen.”

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