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Pitcher Erick Fedde among those sent to the minors by Nationals

Pitcher Erick Fedde among those sent to the minors by Nationals

The Nationals made a slew of unsurprising moves Thursday.

Paramount among them was sending Erick Fedde to Triple-A Fresno. Fedde’s trip back to the minor leagues is not a surprise and is the result of a numbers game as much as a performance indictment. Fedde had options remaining. Joe Ross and Austin Voth do not.

The move leaves the fifth starter spot -- should the season begin -- between Ross and Voth. One will end up a starter, the other a long man in the bullpen. But, Fedde should have opportunity, too, if Major League Baseball plays a truncated season with added doubleheaders. More and more starting pitching will be necessary.

Catcher Tres Barrera was also sent to Fresno. The Nationals like Barrera’s defense and smarts. He’s 25 years old and spent last season with Double-A Harrisburg.

Utility infielder Adrian Sanchez was sent to Harrisburg. That’s to keep him nearby and helps Wilmer Difo’s chances of making the 26-man roster.

Pitchers James Borque and Kyle Finnegan were also sent to Harrisburg. Ryne Harper and Austen Williams remain candidates for a bullpen spot.

Outfielder Andrew Stevenson was also sent to Harrisburg. Michael A. Taylor is the fourth outfielder behind Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Adam Eaton. Davey Martinez did consider keeping Stevenson on the initial roster to have another left-handed bat on the bench.  

Baseball’s current stagnation makes nothing final about these roster moves. But, the Nationals are able to form some roster identity during the process.

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Nationals’ statement: ‘We encourage our fellow citizens to lead by example’

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Nationals’ statement: ‘We encourage our fellow citizens to lead by example’

The Washington Nationals issued a statement on social media at 9:55 p.m. Tuesday while their hometown streets of Washington were marched through by protesters and closed off by various law enforcement agencies.

“The Lerner Family and the entire Washington Nationals Organization join the Washington Nationals Founding Partners Group in the following statement:

“On behalf of the Washington Nationals Founding Partners Group, the minority owners of color of the team, we hope for unity and solidarity of our fans, supporters and the DC Metropolitan community at this time. For generations the game of baseball has brought together men, women and children of all backgrounds, ethnicities and races, including men and women in uniform of every kind. Last year we stood side by side to witness and celebrate a success of ethnic harmony and resolve like no other. The 2019 World Series victory was a living example of cultural diversity blending to support a united goal not just as a team, but as a family.

As a pillar of the DC community, we see it as essential to build opportunities and offer mentorship programs that serve the next generation, as we have done since 2007 through the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and Nationals Philanthropies. It is our goal to teach our children the virtues of respect and treating others with decency, humility and kindness. These important values find their way into every home, including ours. And let us emphasize above all that we do not support brutality or intolerance of any kind.

“On behalf of the Founding Partners Group and our families, we wish for everyone’s safety in the DC Metropolitan community, our nation and beyond. We encourage our fellow citizens to lead by example and commit to playing a meaningful role in shaping a vision and future for our youth, regardless of their race, that unifies and celebrates all of us.”

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers has spurred protests in cities across the country -- including the nation’s capital -- for a fifth consecutive night. Individual athletes have used their voices amid the countrywide turmoil and many organizations in turn have decided to issue statements on the current climate in the United States. The Nationals joined them late Tuesday.

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Sean Doolittle among Nationals to express support for protesters

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Sean Doolittle among Nationals to express support for protesters

As demonstrators stood in the streets of D.C. on Monday to protest racial injustice by law enforcement across the country—most recently resulting in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis—police used tear gas and flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd in order for President Donald Trump to visit St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been damaged amid protests Sunday.

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle and his wife Eireann Dolan voiced on Twitter their displeasure with the decision to use violence in order to break up the crowds.

Athletes and sports teams across the U.S. have chimed in to express their support for equal rights and the Black Lives Matter movement. Although the Nationals had yet to release an official statement at the time this story was published, they did join the #BlackOutTuesday movement by making their profile pictures on both Twitter and Instagram black and posting blank photos.

Outfielder Juan Soto, second baseman Starlin Castro, starting pitcher Joe Ross and third baseman Carter Kieboom joined the #BlackOutTuesday movement on their Instagram accounts as well. First baseman Howie Kendrick reposted Tiger Woods’ statement on his Instagram story.

Ross also retweeted a tweet from The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill that ridiculed the NFL for making a statement in support of the protestors after the Colin Kaepernick kneeling saga resulted in the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s continued unemployment.

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