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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Erick Fedde plans; starters going deep + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s daily press availability...

Fedde Not Ready ... To Start in Majors:

Erick Fedde was under consideration as a potential starter for tonight’s game against the Braves in Atlanta’s Truist Park, but Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez and Co. apparently decided against asking the 28-year-old righty to jump right back in for the first start since May 16th without making at least one rehab appearance first.

Fedde tested positive for COVID-19 while the team was on the road in Chicago last month, and he was finally reinstated last week so he could start working his way back.

“He was pitching really well before he had to go on the IL,” Martinez said Tuesday afternoon from Atlanta.

“We want to make sure that he comes back and he’s stretched out and ready to go. And we’re hopeful that he gets through five or six and ninety pitches on Thursday.”

Where will he pitch?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Toronto Blue Jays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

“He’ll be going to Wilmington,” Martinez said, to pitch for the High-A Blue Rocks, one of the Nationals’ new minor league affiliates this season. “So he’ll pitch there and then Friday he’ll meet us in Philly.”

And the next step for Fedde, the manager said, barring any setbacks or hiccups, could be a return to the majors.

“We’re very hopeful,” Martinez said. “Like I said, I want to make sure that we talk to him after and see how he feels. For me, it’s always the next day with him.

“He threw his bullpen the other day, an extended bullpen, and he came back and he was pretty sore, pretty beat up. So we chose for him to opt for him to go out and get a start under his belt before we bring him and we’ll see how that goes and we’ll reevaluate him after his start.”

Starters Need To Go Deeper Into Starts:

Entering play on Tuesday, the Nationals’ starters, as a group, had a 4.48 ERA, which put the club at 20th overall in terms of ERA among major league teams. Their 4.67 FIP was the 4th-highest in the majors. Still, Davey Martinez said that overall he’s been happy with the work his starting pitchers have done in the first two months of the 2021 campaign.

“They’ve done fine,” Martinez said.

“The biggest thing is to keep us in the game and we really have been. If you look back we’ve been in a lot of these games. So we just got to keep going. I’d like to see these guys go a little deeper of course, but when you’re playing from behind, we have to pinch hit. If we have an opportunity to score runs we have to take that opportunity, especially when we’re not scoring runs. But I think they’re doing great.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

“If we didn’t have to pinch hit for Joe [Ross] yesterday, he probably would have stayed in the game one more inning because he was throwing the ball really well, but that’s part of being in the National League.”

Before they had Stephen Strasburg leave last night’s outing after just 1 13 IP with tightness in his trap, Martinez said he did think his starters had more to give.

“I don’t put any limitations on any fo these guys,” he explained, “the game dictates how far they can take us. But I really believe that we’ve had a rough go the first inning as of late, but after that they seem to settle down and they’ve been pitching really well. Like I’ve said before, once you’re behind, and you got to do other things, you’ve got to think about pinch hitting. Hopefully today we score first and then we can do something else.”

They did score first last night, but with Strasburg leaving early, the ended up going to the pen again in the second.


Victor Robles, who returned to the lineup in a pinch hit appearance on Monday night, talked to reporters before the second of four with the Braves on Tuesday about getting back in the mix after he missed time with a right ankle sprain.

Robles, who missed ten games, said he did what he could to stay sharp while he was out of the lineup and eventually ended up on the IL.

“I still keep working on the same routine, working on the same things and working hard to get back in the game,” the 24-year-old outfielder said.

It was a frustrating 10 games, however, watching while his teammates struggled to get it together.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

“Absolutely,” Robles said. “When baseball is your life and you’re out there to help your team win and you see them going through certain situations where you feel you could be helping out any way you can obviously it’s a little frustrating.

“But we’re back on the field and hopefully we can start helping the team win.”

Davey Martinez said before Robles’s first start that he’d probably put the outfielder back in the 9th spot in the order for now, and he did that in the first start back, but the fifth-year veteran said he’s fine hitting wherever he’s asked to when a reporter wondered if he might prefer to move up eventually.

“Like I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter where I hit in the lineup,” Robles explained. “I’m there to help the team win any way I can and make an impact on that lineup any way possible. But in a way I think it’s a smart strategy lining me up right behind Trea Turner, two fast guys on the bases, you know. I think we both, hitting back-to-back can impact a lot on the offensive side, especially with our speed and then having Juan Soto come behind us to hit, I think having two fast guys on base when we’re able to get on makes it a lot better for him in trying to drive in runs.”