Jeremy Hellickson
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Jeremy Hellickson exits game with right hamstring injury

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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.