The Nationals have named 28-year-old right-hander Austin Voth their fifth starter for the 2020 MLB season, manager Davey Martinez announced Thursday. Runner-up Erick Fedde will be moved to the bullpen after competing for the spot during both spring training and summer camp.
“Austin Voth will definitely be our fifth starter,” Martinez said. “I like Fedde coming out of the bullpen. He’s thrown the ball really well in this little spring training we had. I know he threw the ball in March really well but I like him coming out of the bullpen. Voth has done well as well so that’s the way we decided to go.”
Washington entered spring training with three candidates for the final spot in their rotation behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez. Voth and Fedde were joined by Joe Ross, who opted out of the shortened 2020 season after it was announced MLB would proceed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ross was seen as a likely favorite to win the job after starting Game 5 of the World Series last fall in place of the injured Scherzer. However, his decision not to play paved the way for Voth and Fedde go head-to-head for the spot.
Last season, Voth made nine appearances (eight starts) during which he posted a 3.30 ERA with 44 strikeouts to 13 walks over 43 2/3 innings. However, a shoulder injury forced the Nationals to remove him from their playoff roster ahead of the World Series. Now fully healthy, he will hope to prove that he belongs at the major-league level in what is expected to be his first full season with the Nationals.
Voth's first start is expected to be Tuesday, July 28 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
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