May 16 at 2:04 PM

Aníbal Sánchez looked in pain after issuing a walk to Brandon Nimmo in the second inning Thursday, and the starting pitcher was soon walking to the dugout flanked by Washington Nationals Manager Dave Martinez and head athletic trainer Paul Lessard.

Sánchez, 35, threw just 31 pitches before he exited with an apparent injury with one out in the frame. He worked through the New York Mets in a perfect first inning, struck out Michael Conforto looking to begin the second and, shortly after, was being checked out behind the mound. There was no indication of an injury before he threw that cutter to Nimmo, and had his normal velocity and sharp secondary pitches.

As Sánchez walked toward the dugout, Erick Fedde rushed to get warm. He then entered to protect an early four-run lead and stranded two runners with a groundout and strikeout. Then that lead disappeared in the third, as Robinson Cano hit an RBI double and Michael Conforto tied the game when he ripped Fedde’s high fastball into the right field seats.

Fedde, a 26-year-old starter, was converted to a reliever in late April and has since pitched eight scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Sánchez, the Nationals’ fourth starter, entered with an 0-6 record and 5.27 ERA in eight appearances. Washington cannot afford any more injuries. They have already had to play without Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto, and are still waiting for Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Adams to get healthy. But if Sánchez is out of commission beyond Thursday, and a trip to the injured list follows, the Nationals have Fedde as a logical replacement and could line him up to start in five days.

This finale against the Mets, with the Nationals looking to win their first series since mid-April, was just another test for Fedde. It didn’t come as planned and, maybe as a result, didn’t quite go as planned, either.

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Source:: Daily times


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Nationals’ Aníbal Sánchez leaves start in second inning after grimacing on mound

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