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Washington Nationals’ Erick Fedde turns 29 today; fighting for spot in rotation again...

Right-hander for the Nationals, an annual No. 5 starter contender, turns 29 today…

MLB: SEP 09 Nationals at Braves Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WASHINGTON – It is that time of year for Erick Fedde, when his name is usually discussed as a candidate for the No. 5 starter spot in the Washington Nationals’ rotation.

And it’s also that time of year for a personal milestone for the right-hander – his birthday is today, and he turns 29. So we are way past calling Fedde a young pitcher.

Fedde, born in Las Vegas in 1993, was drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round in 2011.

He opted to attend UNLV, and it was a smart baseball decision – he went in the first round to the Nationals in the draft in 2014.

But Fedde, by most measures, hasn’t lived up to his draft status.

Yes, he did make the majors in 2017, and since that first season has appeared in at least 11 games every year.

But he has never posted an ERA lower than 4.29 in any one season and his career WHIP is nearly 1.50.

Fedde was 0-1 with an ERA of 9.39 in three starts in his first year with Washington.

In 2018, he was 2-4, 5.54 in 11 starts for the Nationals.

He followed that up by going 4-2, 4.50 in 21 games with 12 starts in 2019 as the Nationals won the World Series.

Fedde was 2-4, 4.29 in 11 games with eight starts in 2020.

Last year he set personal bests in wins (seven), games (29), and starts (27) while losing nine games and posting an ERA of 5.47.

“I think he’s growing each and every day, he’s getting smarter, he’s getting more confident in himself, and making his pitches,” former Nats’ shortstop Trea Turner told reporters early last season when asked about Fedde, “and the things that he’s worked on in the last two years with the cutter that he didn’t used to have and now he’s got, I think it’s a real weapon for him.”

Overall, Fedde is 15-20 with an ERA of 5.25 in 75 games, with 61 starts.

He was high school teammates in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper, now with the Phillies.

If and when the lockout ends, Fedde is expected to once again head to West Palm Beach and contend for a spot in the Washington rotation.

What would late February, early March be without that scenario?