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Wire Taps: Erick Fedde returns Tuesday; Joe Ross and Sean Doolittle could be back this week; September questions

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the series with the Cardinals.

Milwaukee Brewers v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Nationals’ season is winding down. It’s early September, and for the first time in seven years, we can say it with confidence: this team isn’t going to the playoffs. It’s time to play out the string, to play spoiler, to watch the young guys, to relax somewhat.

Stay tuned for relentless optimism and World Series predictions if the Nats sweep the Cardinals, though.

Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:

Nationals’ season has been a flop, but September still brings intrigue (WaPo)
The Nationals aren't getting anything back for their major league talent, which is okay if it gives the Nats' young guys a chance to shine — and if it gets the Nats under the luxury tax window, which they desperately need to do if they want to get a good draft pick when Bryce Harper leaves. In the meantime: will Juan Soto keep his average above .300 for the year? Can Howie Kendrick be ready for next year? Will Ryan Zimmerman stay healthy and stay hitting?

Erick Fedde will start for the Nationals Tuesday, and Sean Doolittle is nearing a return (WaPo)
Though Kelvin Herrera officially won't return this year (he recently underwent surgery on his foot), the Nats could get their real closer, the guy they plan to lean on next year, Sean Doolittle, back this week. Also, Erick Fedde will finally return to the rotation.

Slain sportswriter John McNamara wanted his ashes spread at Nationals Park. His wish was granted. (WaPo)
Andrea Chamblee, widow of John McNamara, who died in the tragic mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis and covered Washington sports as well as anyone out there, spread McNamara's ashes in a garden at Nats Park Saturday afternoon. It was only fitting.

Nick Raquet throws shutout for P-Nats (
It was Potomac's second complete game in as many days.

After another sim game, Doolittle on track to return this week (MASN)
Because the minors will shut down this week, Doolittle won't have a chance to rehab.

Sean Doolittle tosses another simulated game (
"I think those two things go hand and hand," Doolittle said. "Last time we talked about making sure we hit all the checkpoints coming back, not cutting any corners and stuff. … I'm really happy with how today went. Another good day to build on."

Fedde to start Tuesday, Ross coming soon (MASN)
Joe Ross is in the final stages of rehab from Tommy John last summer, and could be activated this week. He made a rehab start Saturday, allowing only one run in 5.2 innings.

Given another shot, Kieboom makes most of opportunity (MASN)
The Nats gave Spencer Kieboom a shot in May after Matt Wieters went down — and then he stayed up in Pedro Severino's place. Currently, he's hitting .189 — but given that he was designated for assignment two springs ago, it's a much better feeling, and his defense has improved a ton.