Looking back and thinking about what led to the shoulder issues which landed him on the Disabled List after he left the mound 25 pitches into his July 4th start against Boston’s Red Sox in the nation’s capital, Erick Fedde said he might have tried a little too hard to impress in his first extended run as part of the Washington Nationals’ rotation.
“I don’t know, I think there’s a lot of factors. I guess maybe my mechanics weren’t consistent enough,” Fedde explained.
“Getting up here and maybe just trying to be something special and overthrowing for a month straight just really wore on me. But it’s a learning experience too, and hopefully I don’t have to deal with this again.”
Fedde, 25, and a 2014 1st Round pick (No. 18 overall), made five consecutive starts between June 13th and July 4th, posting a 6.04 ERA and a .348/.398/.596 line against in 22 1⁄3 IP over that stretch.
After having Tommy John surgery in his draft year, and working his way back, then having his first major league run end when he suffered a flexor mass injury, Fedde, still a relatively young 25 in baseball terms, said he let the lights and big ballparks get to him this time.
“It’s just the feeling of, you know, you get to the big leagues,” he said, “... big games, big stadiums. You get the bright lights and you just get excited.
“But I think that’s also just part of the process of getting used to being up here.”
He’s also had to adjust his approach to opposing hitters in the big leagues, after he got up and saw what he was up against facing major leaguers on a regular basis.
“I’ve always been a sinkerballer,” Fedde said, “and it’s just kind of adding maybe like a pitch up in the zone, because up here there’s guys that are really favorable to certain pitches and in the minors I never really adjusted to that too much, and it’s something that I’ve made a conscious effort to try to work up in the zone a little more.”
Now he’s working hard to make it back at some point this season.
Fedde started for the Nationals’ Double-A affiliate last week, giving up four hits, two walks, and a run in a 57-pitch outing, and he said he came out of it feeling good and hoped that he’d be ready to contribute in the majors at some point before the regular season ends.
“It went pretty well,” he said out the outing for the Harrisburg Senators.
“My command was a little off in the first couple innings, but as I went on I felt stronger and the shoulder felt great, so that’s the biggest plus sign.”
There weren’t any lingering issues with the shoulder either.
“I feel really great here the last couple weeks so just trying to continue it.”
As for any adjustments to his delivery or workout regimen to try to avoid a recurrence of the shoulder issue?
“We were just really trying to strengthen it,” Fedde said. “They said that a big factor was just fatigue in general, but just staying more consistent, keeping myself in a good position at all times just to hopefully stay on the field.”
He also got to spend a lot of time working with Stephen Strasburg, who was rehabbing shoulder and neck injuries concurrently. What did he pick up from his rotation mate?
“Just like every day in catch, just little tips and advice, just to try to build together,” he said.
“We were both in a spot where we wanted to get back,” Fedde continued.
“He’s been through it unfortunately a few times, and it was more just things on like how to get back and just to kind of trust the process here in the training room.”
With a month-plus remaining on the regular season schedule, Fedde said he hopes he has a chance to get back on the mound in the majors over the next few weeks.
“September call-ups are coming and I think I get off the 60-Day on the 3rd, and hopefully on that day the team will see fit to call me back up and see what I can do to help the team at the end of the year.”
Fedde made his second rehab start last night, at Triple-A Syracuse, giving up three hits, two walks, and two earned runs in 4 2⁄3 IP, over which he threw 73 pitches and struck out six.