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Nationals to use Erick Fedde in a spot start Wednesday against the Orioles

Erick Fedde will start Wednesday in Baltimore, allowing the Nationals to push Stephen Strasburg back a day and into their series against the Braves. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

BALTIMORE — While there are still questions surrounding the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation this week, one element has become certain: Erick Fedde will get another chance against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

Fedde, a 26-year-old right-hander, was penciled in as the Nationals’ replacement fifth starter earlier this season, when Jeremy Hellickson went to the injured list with a strained right shoulder in mid-May. Fedde slid in after moonlighting as a reliever and impressed in a few starts before his command slipped and he was optioned to Class AA Harrisburg in late June. That turned the last spot in Washington’s rotation into a revolving door, and the team is still trying to figure out who will fill it down the stretch.

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Austin Voth, who served as the fifth starter the past three times through the rotation, matched up with the Orioles on Tuesday night. The Nationals optioned catcher Spencer Kieboom back to Harrisburg earlier Tuesday to make room for Voth on the 25-man roster after Voth was sent down just before the all-star break. But the Nationals need an additional starter with ace Max Scherzer on the injured list with a mid-back strain, so Fedde will get an opportunity to rebound against baseball’s worst team.

Recalling Fedde will require another roster move Wednesday, and if Washington swaps Voth for Fedde, Voth would need to spend a minimum of 10 days in the minors unless he is called up to replace an injured player. That’s where the planning gets even trickier, assuming Voth and Fedde are essentially competing for a rotation spot this week.

The decision to start Fedde against the Orioles also has implications for Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals bumped Strasburg to Thursday, for the first game of a four-game series against the NL East-leading Braves in Atlanta, meaning Strasburg will get an extra day of rest. The 30-year-old right-hander typically likes to stay in a normal routine — four days off, pitching on the fifth — but Manager Dave Martinez doesn’t mind giving Strasburg a longer break, given how much he has thrown this season.

After that, it seems Patrick Corbin will start Friday before Scherzer is eligible to come off the IL on Saturday for the third game against the Braves. Martinez expressed measured confidence Tuesday when asked about Scherzer’s timeline, saying the ace threw from 75 feet and felt good afterward. Martinez would like Scherzer to throw a bullpen session in the coming days before evaluating his availability for the weekend. The Nationals entered Tuesday 7 ½ games behind the Braves and are hoping to have Strasburg, Corbin, Scherzer and Aníbal Sánchez lined up to face them.

That starting group has been so steady during a 30-12 surge leading into Tuesday. But for now, for two games in Baltimore, Washington turned to Voth, then Fedde, and will go from there.


Nationals (49-43)

Trea Turner SS

Adam Eaton RF

Anthony Rendon 3B

Juan Soto LF

Ryan Zimmerman DH

Matt Adams 1B

Brian Dozier 2B

Victor Robles CF

Yan Gomes C

Austin Voth P

Orioles (28-65)

Jonathan Villar SS

Trey Mancini RF

Chance Sisco C

Renato Nunez DH

Anthony Santander CF

Dwight Smith Jr. LF

Chris Davis 1B

Hanser Alberto 2B

Rio Ruiz 3B

Asher Wojciechowski P

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