- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2019

Anibal Sanchez recorded only four outs in his start Thursday afternoon before he felt something go wrong.

Sanchez left the Washington Nationals’ series finale against the New York Mets with a left hamstring strain, and manager Dave Martinez said it’s likely Sanchez will miss a start and require time on the injured list.

Sanchez said he felt the strain occur when he attempted a pickoff throw to first during the second inning. He finished the at-bat by walking Brandon Nimmo and grimacing in pain, so Martinez and some trainers ran out to the mound to check on him.

The righty starter will undergo an MRI Friday.

“It’s not serious, but let’s see what they say tomorrow,” Sanchez said. “I can say I’m probably going to miss another start, but I just wanna wait for tomorrow.”

Sanchez finished with two strikeouts, one hit and no runs allowed over 11/3 innings. The Nationals used six bullpen pitchers after Sanchez en route to a 7-4 win.

While with the Atlanta Braves last season, Sanchez hurt his right hamstring during a pre-game warmup and spent six weeks on the injured list. Compared with that injury, Sanchez felt this one is not as bad.

If Sanchez must miss a start, the logical candidate to replace him is Erick Fedde. But when Fedde came in for Sanchez in Thursday’s game, he allowed four earned runs on four hits, including a home run by Michael Conforto, in two innings.

Martinez did not commit to starting Fedde in Sanchez’s place, but said he thought Fedde pitched well Thursday apart from “one mistake.”

“He made one mistake, tried to go in on Conforto and the ball ran back over the plate,” Martinez said. “I told him today when he came out of the game, I said, ‘Look, I know you gave up a few runs, but you threw the ball really well. So just keep it going.’”

Fedde has been in an interesting spot in 2019, coming out of the bullpen rather than starting. All 11 of Fedde’s appearances last year came as a starter, often when Stephen Strasburg or someone else was sidelined by injury. But he went 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio only a shade better than 2-to-1.

At the beginning of May, general manager Mike Rizzo said the organization was “not sure which way” they’d steer Fedde’s career going forward. After a brief stay with Double-A Harrisburg, Fedde returned to Washington and embraced his bullpen role, telling Martinez he felt ready to pitch back-to-back days — something starters certainly don’t have to do.

But Fedde said after Thursday’s game that he’d be comfortable going back to a starting job.

“I’m not too far removed from it,” Fedde said. “I think I could give this team five innings for sure. But whatever the coaches say, I’ll get the job done.”

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