Pitcher Fedde ex­cels in his de­but with Nats

The Washington Post Sunday - - BASE­BALL -

In­ning-end­ing dou­ble plays usu­ally don’t in­voke bursts of emo­tion in Grape­fruit League games as they do when games mat­ter, but the one Erick Fedde in­duced Satur­day against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., was dif­fer­ent. It con­cluded the third in­ning at First Data Field and ter­mi­nated the only threat Fedde con­fronted in his first start in a game of any kind wear­ing a Nationals uni­form. And once Neil Walker was re­tired at first base, Fedde jogged off the di­a­mond, skip­ping over the first base line with a lit­tle pep, his suc­cess­ful day op­pos­ing the Mets’ lineup with most of their reg­u­lars be­hind him.

“I feel like this was one of my first real chances to go out and start against a team with a lot of their guys play­ing,” Fedde said. “Just to get into a jam and get out of it, I was ex­cited. It felt good to prove my­self a lit­tle bit in a small sense.”

Three years re­moved from Tommy John surgery, Fedde is the Nationals’ con­sen­sus top pitch­ing prospect, a des­ig­na­tion he as­sumed when Wash­ing­ton traded Lu­cas Gi­olito and Rey­naldo Lopez to the White Sox in De­cem­ber. He has pitched up to the ti­tle this spring. Af­ter sur­ren­der­ing a hit and a walk — both in the third in­ning — across three score­less frames Satur­day, the right-han­der, whose fast­ball touched 95 mph, has logged seven score­less in­nings in three out­ings.

“He showed good poise, good de­meanor,” Nationals Man­ager Dusty Baker said af­ter the 6-0 win Satur­day. “He’s ag­gres­sive. He got be­hind two bat­ters and came back to even the count. He threw the ball well.”

Ear­lier in the day, Baker said he was im­pressed by the 24-year-old Fedde’s mind-set and re­cep­tive­ness and com­pared him to 1990 Amer­i­can League Cy Young win­ner Bob Welch. Baker said Fedde’s lank­i­ness, the way he throws down­hill and his com­pet­i­tive­ness re­minded him of Welch, who played with Baker for the Dodgers.

“I watched him last year,” Baker said. “They had him on the video up there a lot at our sta­dium.”

There’s a strong chance Baker could watch Fedde on the field at Nationals Park this sea­son af­ter Fedde climbed to Class AA Har­ris­burg in 2016. He posted a 3.99 ERA in five starts with Har­ris­burg and will start this sea­son there or with Class AAA Syra­cuse. But if he con­tin­ues at the rate he has gone the past two sea­sons, he could be in Wash­ing­ton by the end of 2017 . . . .

Fedde, Vance Wor­ley, Austin Voth, Jeremy Guthrie and Rafael Mar­tin com­bined to pitch the shutout, and Michael A. Tay­lor con­tin­ued his stand­out spring with two hits to boost his bat­ting av­er­age to .423 . . . .

Catcher Matt Wi­eters is sched­uled to start in his Nationals de­but Sun­day against the Hous­ton Astros. Wi­eters, who signed with the club Feb. 24, is ex­pected to play three or four in­nings, ac­cord­ing to Baker . . . .

Some­time be­fore the game Sun­day, Max Scherzer will face bat­ters for the sec­ond time this sea­son on a back field at Ball­park of the Palm Beaches in an­other live bat­ting prac­tice ses­sion as he con­tin­ues pro­gress­ing from a stress frac­ture in his right ring fin­ger.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.