Fedde tossed five scoreless innings Friday for Triple-A Syracuse in a win over Louisville, scattering two hits and a walk while striking out seven.
The 25-year-old has had a strong start to the season, posting a 1.80 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 14:3 K:BB through his first 15 innings. The Nats remain high on the 2014 first-round pick as a potential rotation piece, and with A.J. Cole now off the 40-man roster and potentially headed out of the organization entirely after being designed for assignment, Fedde would be the next man up the next time the Nats need to call up a starting pitcher.
Fedde was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday, Dan Kolko of MASN Sports reports.
As expected, Fedde will open the season with the Chiefs, where he posted a 4.76 ERA across 34.0 innings last season. The 25-year-old was competing for one of the Nationals' final rotation spots in camp, but his remaining minor-league options ultimately led Washington to keep A.J. Cole, who is out of options, instead. Fedde pitched well in spring, however, and could get a look later in the season if he excels at the Triple-A level.
Fedde is expected to open the season in the Triple-A Syracuse rotation, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports.
Fedde remains in contention for the final spot in the Washington rotation and has generally looked solid in the Grapefruit League with a 2.84 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 12.2 innings, but the fact that he still has minor-league options remaining works to his detriment. On the other hand, A.J. Cole, Fedde's top competitor for the No. 5 starter's role, has no options remaining, a reality that general manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged would likely lock Cole into an Opening Day roster spot as a member of the rotation or a long reliever, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports. Jeremy Hellickson isn't on track to be ready for the start of the season after first signing a minor-league deal with the Nationals on Friday, but could ultimately vie for the No. 5 gig once he builds up his arm, creating another obstacle for Fedde to stick with the big club.
Fedde allowed one run on two hits and two walks over three innings while striking out three in Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros.
Facing what almost looked like it could be Houston's Opening Day lineup, the 25-year-old rung up Carlos Correa to end the first inning before running into a bit of trouble in the third after a leadoff walk to Max Stassi. The battle for the Nats' fifth starter spot appears to be down to Fedde or A.J. Cole at this point, and while Cole still seems to be in the lead, either one could lock it up with a big finish to the spring.
Fedde was throwing in the mid-90s during his Grapefruit League debut Monday, Jamal Collier of MLB.com reports.
The forearm issue which shut him down in early September last season and sapped the life on his fastball no longer seems to be a problem for the 25-year-old. Fedde is competing this spring with A.J. Cole, Edwin Jackson and Tommy Milone for the Nats' fifth starter job, and while Cole is considered the nominal favorite at the moment, Fedde has the highest ceiling of the bunch. If he shows he can be healthy and effective over the next few weeks, he could leapfrog his more experienced teammates to claim the spot.
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