WASHINGTON, D.C.: Erick Fedde’s 2017 campaign ended abruptly when his fastball velocity dropped noticeably and a subsequent MRI revealed a flexor mass strain, but the 25-year-old came into the 2018 season healthy again and he was making progress in his last few starts in the Washington Nationals’ rotation, when, 25 pitches into his 4th of July start against the Boston Red Sox, his right shoulder started barking and wouldn’t loosen up.
“The beginning of the second inning — just was having trouble getting loose all game but felt fine,” Fedde explained a few hours after he was lifted from the outing and sent for an MRI on his right shoulder.
“[I was] expecting it to go away,” the 2014 1st Round pick said, “and I think I just sat down there for the five minutes or whatever, [between innings] and the restart just everything, I think my shoulder just said no more.”
“He’s got right shoulder stiffness,” Davey Martinez told reporters after what ended up a 3-0 loss to the Red Sox.
“Went out there the second inning he just couldn’t get loose. We watched him throw, the velo was down so sent [pitching coach Derek Lilliquist] to go talk to him, and he was out there, [Fedde] wanted to keep pitching.
“And then I went out there and he told me he was stiff, and I said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that to you.’
“He’s getting an MRI right now so we’ll know more.” Martinez said it was the first he’d heard of any issue.
“Yeah, this is the first. He went out there he felt fine first inning, went out there, and he said he got stiff and he couldn’t get loose.”
By the time Fedde talked to reporters he already had the results of the MRI and a diagnosis.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I felt,” Fedde said, “but we just looked at the MRI and they said no structural damage, no tears, no nothing, it’s just a pretty inflamed shoulder and it’s going to be a couple days off and we’ll go from there, but honestly the news I got right there is pretty good.”
The conversation with Lilliquist and the team’s trainer was a long one, but when Martinez joined it, he made a decision.
“My fastballs were I think 88 and 87,” Fedde explained when asked what prompted the talk on the mound.
“And they said, ‘Yo, what’s going on?’ and I said, ‘My shoulder’s barking a little,’ and Lilly immediately was like, ‘You’re coming out then right there,’ and I said, ‘Just give me a second, it will loosen up, let me throw some more, like a few more and I’ll be fine.’ Then that back and forth a little. Davey came out and said, ‘We’re not taking chances.’”
“I guess as I sit here right now I’m thankful that they’re that smart, but I just didn’t want to leave.”