Davey Martinez announced this afternoon’s starter for the Nationals’ 2021 Grapefruit League opener on Friday afternoon when he spoke with reporters on a Zoom call from West Palm Beach.
“Fedde will start the game,” Martinez said, referring of course, to 2014 1st Round pick Erick Fedde, one of the pitchers battling for the fifth spot in the Washington’s rotation this spring.
How did the club decide Fedde would get nod for the first game of Spring Training?
“Just by talking to [pitching coach Jim] Hickey,” Martinez explained.
“And he’s ready to go, so go ahead and get him out there. He looks good, and built him up a little bit, so feel like he’s going to be the guy.”
Fedde, who turned 28 this week, finished the 2020 COVID campaign with a (2-4) mark in 11 games (eight starts) and 50 1⁄3 innings pitched, over which he put up a 4.29 ERA, a 6.15 FIP, 22 walks (3.93 BB/9), 28 Ks (5.01 K/9), and a .247/.326/.487 line against in his 40 IP in starts.
What is his manager expecting of the right-hander in the first game of the spring?
“We’ll keep his pitch count probably to around 30, max,” Martinez said.
“Just let him go out there. All of Spring Training, especially in the beginning, we want to focus on throwing strike one, that’s our focus with our guys, especially our young guys.
“So we’ll let him go out there, and we won’t let him go over 30 pitches.”