It might not have been the steady succession of ground balls that were expected with Doug "4th in the majors in GB% in 2013" Fister on the mound, but the 30-year-old, 6'8'' right-hander's debut with the Washington Nationals went well. Acquired this winter in a 3-for-1 deal with Detroit, Fister pitched for his new team for the first time this afternoon in a Grapefruit League game against the Miami Marlins.
In two innings of work in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, he gave up a walk, two hits and one earned run, throwing 30 pitches, 19 for strikes in what ended up being a 10-3 Nationals' win.
"Typical first inning for him," Matt Williams told reporters after the game. "13 out of 18 strikes. Commanded the zone. Gave up a hit with a guy in scoring position, but he's not going to shy away from throwing the ball in the strike zone. Got a double play ball. Perfect. Good outing for him."
Fister was a little tougher on himself though he was pleased with the outing.
"Overall not bad," he said. "Obviously there are still a lot things I need to work on. The biggest thing is my command. I felt a little erratic out there. Trying to get to know myself again this year, it's just a matter of fine-tuning, really a lot of it is just fine-tuning the sinker."
But overall he was happy. "Not bad," he reiterated. "Again, a little erratic. I left a couple over the plate, a couple flew open and were too far inside, but the main focus for me is keeping the ball down, and I felt like I was kind of 50/50 today, but that still needs to be a focus."
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Fister retired the Marlins in order in the first, striking out two.
He erased a leadoff walk to Marcell Ozuna in the second with help from Nats' second baseman Jeff Kobernus, who started a 4-6-3 DP on a sharp grounder toward second off Jeff Baker's bat, but Fish infielder Derek Dietrich doubled to right field and scored on a bloop single to center by Reed Johnson that tied the game up at 1-1 after two.
The leadoff walk in the second, Fister said, was the result of thinking a little too much early in the process.
"I was trying to work through some mid-season stuff, pitch selection," he explained, "and I goofed around and got him on base."
While he was happy with his first outing for his new team, Fister said he was aware that he's not all the way there just yet, one start into Spring Training.
"Normally, where I normally am," Fister said, "I feel like I've got a little better command and for the first day I wasn't unhappy about it. It just gives me something to build on and work through."
Command, in particular, will be the focus going forward.
"Specifically, honing in on the command is the biggest thing," Fister said, "but overall with everything, it's just a matter of staying consistent. I don't want to have too many peaks and valleys, I want to make sure I'm consistent every day, getting my work in and doing the things I need to do."
"It's good to get the first one, I wouldn't say, 'Out of the way,' but get my feet underneath me as a Nat and I know that everybody is back there ready to play and they've got my back. So it's a good feeling to have. I like the team that we have here. We've got a lot of talent, but most importantly, we've got great chemistry and guys are playing together so I look forward to the future here."