Hellickson has the inside track on the Nationals' fifth starter spot, Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic reports.

The veteran appears to have the edge over Erick Fedde and Joe Ross, both of whom have options remaining and are likely to open the season in the minors. Hellickson cut his ERA by nearly two runs last season, finishing with a 3.45 mark, but his peripherals trailed his results considerably. His 17.6 percent strikeout rate limits his upside.

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