Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson made it through just four pitches during Sunday’s start against the Braves. He induced a groundout from Ender Inciarte for the first out of the inning, then saw Ozzie Albies reach safely after Mark Reynolds misplayed a throw to first. Hellickson scrambled to make the catch, but was soon seen grabbing at his hamstring and was checked by an athletic trainer and club manager Dave Martinez. He made a hasty exit from the field and appears to be down for the count with a hamstring injury, though the Nationals have yet to comment on the severity of the issue or announce a projected return date for their starter.
Hellickson, 31, has looked sharp so far this season with a 2.30 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 across 43 innings. Assuming his injury is severe enough to warrant a trip to the disabled list, it’ll be his first time doing so since 2015, when he missed a little over three weeks with a left hamstring strain.
The righty’s abrupt departure created an unexpected opportunity for rookie starter (and no. 16 prospect) Jefry Rodriguez, who made his major league debut with two outs remaining in the first inning. Per Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports, the 24-year-old represents the 42nd player to appear for the club this season. Rodriguez induced a pop-up with his very first pitch, then watched Nick Markakis rope an RBI single into right field to put the Braves on the board. The Nats were quick to follow suit; by the third, they had regained the lead with a two-run shot from Trea Turner, his seventh blast of the year. They currently lead the Braves 2-1 in the fifth.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.