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Washington Nationals: Jeremy Hellickson to start series opener vs New York Mets tomorrow night...

Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez announced after today’s game that Jeremy Hellickson will make his first start for the Nats in tomorrow’s series opener with the New York Mets.

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

When the Washington Nationals’ Game Notes for the finale with the Colorado Rockies were released on Sunday afternoon, there was still no starter listed for the series opener with the New York Mets on Monday night. There were, however, hints over the last few weeks, as A.J. Cole struggled in his 2018 debut, and put up a solid start the second time out, that the Nats would make a change in the fifth spot in the rotation once Hellickson, who signed on in D.C. late this Spring, joined the team once he was up to speed.

Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez updated reporters on Hellickson’s progress on Friday, after the veteran right-hander’s latest throwing session in Florida.

“He threw a side actually [on Wednesday],” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.

“I guess he threw well. Now we’ll just have to wait and see. He’s getting to the point now where he feels like he’s ready. I know he’s got another side coming up so we’ll see where we’re at.”

Martinez wasn’t ready to commit to a change in the rotation at that point, at least publicly, noting that Cole rebounded well from his disastrous 2018 debut the second time out and was, “was pretty much” what he expected when the right-hander was named the Nats’ fifth starter at the start of the season. His lack of options played a role at that point as well.

“We haven’t made that decision yet,” Martinez said Friday. “A.J. pitched well, but we haven’t made any decisions yet.”

After today’s series finale with the Colorado Rockies, however, Martinez made it official.

Hellickson will join the Nationals in New York and start against the Mets tomorrow night, though no corresponding moves have been announced yet.

Hellickson pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles in 2017, with a 5.43 ERA, 5.77 FIP, 47 walks (2.58 BB/9), 96 Ks (5.27 K/9), and a .250/.312/.497 line against over 30 starts and 164 IP in his eighth major league season.