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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Erick Fedde making rehab start; Alex Avila starting again; and Josh Harrison getting a day...

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Highlights from Davey Martinez’s pregame media availability on Sunday afternoon...

Fedde Finally Ready To Return?:

The third time was apparently the charm for Erick Fedde, who finally got an opportunity to make a rehab start on Saturday, after two previous attempts were rained out. Fedde went five innings on 72 pitches, giving up five hits, a walk, and two earned runs in an outing with the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks in his first start back after testing positive for COVID-19 while the club was on the road in Chicago last month.

The reports from Delaware were positive.

“Fedde threw the ball well,” manager Davey Martinez said before Sunday’s series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

“He got better as the game went on. He was five innings, 72 pitches, but he said he felt fine.

“He said he really felt like he got his legs underneath him towards the end there, so that’s a good sign.”

Fedde hasn’t pitched in a major league game since May 16th in Arizona, but the next time out he could be back in the big league rotation.

“Yeah, I talked to him this morning,” Martinez explained. “He said he feels normal soreness, so we’ll get him on his five-day rest and then we’ll go from there. With the day off [Monday] we may push him back six days or seven days, so we’re going to sit down after today and see where we’re at and then get him in there.”

Yan Gomes Back Tuesday?:

Alex Avila was penciled in as the starting catcher for the fourth straight game on Sunday, as Yan Gomes nurses a right hamstring issue. Gomes started 34 of the first 52 games this year.

He was doing well at the plate before the injury, and throwing out runners at an impressive clip. Martinez said he should be back in the lineup shortly.

“He’s feeling better,” the manager said.

“If we can give him today [Sunday] off with tomorrow being off, I think he’ll be ready to play on Tuesday.”

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

And how is Avila handling the additional workload after starting sparingly over the first two months-plus this season?

“He’s been great,” Martinez told reporters on Sunday morning. “I talked to [Avila] last night after the game, and he said he feels fine.

“He said he prepares himself for situations like this. As a backup catcher he’s had to do it a lot, but he said, ‘I feel fine. I feel good.’”

Harrison Gets (Most Of) A Day:

Josh Harrison has been in a bit of a slump on the current road trip, going 2 for 22 over the last six games before Davey Martinez gave him the afternoon off on Sunday. Harrison’s line overall on the year fell from .287/.358/.420 to .261/.344/.376 over that stretch, so it looked like a good time to give him a break according to his manager.

“In the Atlanta series I thought he hit the ball exceptionally hard,” Martinez said. “Just hitting the ball on the ground, not finding holes. These last few days his legs are a bit heavy, so with the quick turnaround to the day game today I thought it would be a good day to give him a day off.”

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Harrison talked earlier this week about being happy with his at bats if not the results.

“If I’m swinging at good pitches and hitting the ball hard, that’s all I want to do,” he said, “... but at the same time you want to be rewarded. But I’ve also been on the flip side where I’ve swung at bad pitches and gotten rewarded, so it’s that balance of knowing that you know the approach of going up there swinging at whatever I want and whatever happens, happens, I got to be willing to live with it, good, bad, or indifferent.”

“I could very well sit here and say let me change something,” Harrison added, “... but if I’m barreling the ball that’s all I really care about because if I try to change something I’ll go to not barreling the ball, and feeling a lot worse.”

Harrison ended up coming on in the seventh on Sunday in a defensive substitution, and he singled on a ground ball to right in the one plate appearance he got.

Harrison, his manager said, “... hit the ball to right field like he was doing when he was really swinging well, so that’s encouraging.

With another day off today, Harrison should be back in the lineup tomorrow night.