Top Washington Nationals’ pitching prospect Erick Fedde, whose sinker velocity was down noticeably in his last start, was shut down for the season on Monday, when the 24-year-old righty was diagnosed with a right forearm flexor strain.
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo talked to reporters about the decision before the Nationals’ series opener in Miami’s Marlins Park.
“We shut him down in an abundance of caution,” Rizzo explained.
“He’s a guy that would have probably missed a start or two, but he’s been through a lot this season. We started him in Spring Training as a starter, shortened his innings up as a reliever, and then stretched him out as a starter, so we felt that it’s a good time to shut him down to get healthy and prepare for next Spring Training.”
Dusty Baker said the 2014 1st Round pick told him he pitched through an existing issue because he wanted to step up for the Nationals in their Sunday doubleheader with the New York Mets during the last homestand.
Fedde’s sinker velocity was down in the 112-pitch outing, from his usual 93-96 mph to around 89-91, but after the outing, both Baker and his Nats’ starter said they weren’t too concerned about what they saw from the radar gun.
Baker said Monday he went back and talked to Fedde and the right-hander said he was dealing with something, but tried to help the cause.
“If they’re not feeling right, you want them to say something about it,” Baker said as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“We had to look at the signs on the board there. I asked him: ‘How come you didn’t say something?’ He said we had a doubleheader, he knew we were short of pitching. That was a valiant team effort, but I wish he had let us know, because we would’ve tried to do something different.”
Rizzo said today that he wasn’t too concerned about Fedde’s velocity against the Mets.
“I really wasn’t because we knew what was going on the previous start in Triple-A and then in the big leagues,” he said, “so we saw a trend and that’s part of the reason we did the course of action we did.”
Asked if Fedde said anything beforehand, Rizzo said, “No, he felt pretty good.”
“He didn’t feel any unusual soreness or anything like that, the good thing is the MRI came back clean, the elbow looks really good and the flexor mass strain is down the [farthest] away from the elbow as could be possible, it’s more in the middle of the belly of the flexor mass, so those are all good things, and we’re really pleased with the way the MRI came back.”
The hope, Rizzo reiterated, is that shutting Fedde down now will allow him to get ready for 2018, when they expect him to play a big role in the rotation.
“He’s a guy we’re going to be counting on in the rotation for next year and beyond,” Rizzo said. “He’s part of the next wave of guys that we’re going to be counting on.”