Nationals Injury Update: Matt Williams On Doug Fister's Elbow Inflammation

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams updated reporters on Doug Fister's status after announcing on Friday that the 30-year-old right-hander was dealing with inflammation in his right elbow after making his first start of the spring for the Nats.

Doug Fister was scheduled to make his second start of the spring for the Washington Nationals on Friday afternoon against the Houston Astros at home in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium.

Before the game, however, Nats' skipper Matt Williams informed reporters that the 30-year-old right-hander was scratched from the day's outing after he was diagnosed with inflammation in his right elbow.

"No structural issues. None of that. So it's inflammation and we've just got to get it out." - Matt Williams on inflammation in Doug Fister's elbow

"He's got a little inflammation in his elbow," Williams explained.

"So we had an MRI taken of it yesterday and it shows a little inflammation in there, so we're going to push him a couple of days just to make sure, get it out of there. But it came back good, he's just got some inflammation."

Coming off a +4.6 fWAR campaign with Detroit in his fifth major league season, Fister was acquired by the Nats this winter in a 3-for-1 trade that sent 22-year-old lefties Ian Krol and Robbie Ray and 25-year-old utility man Steve Lombardozzi to the Tigers.

Fister was (14-9) in 2013, posting a 3.67 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 44 walks (1.90 BB/9) and 159 Ks (6.86 K/9) in 33 games, 32 starts and 208 2/3 IP.

"No structural issues. None of that. So it's inflammation and we've just got to get it out. It's good news, but we have to shut him down for a few days." - Matt Williams on Doug Fister's elbow

He made his first Grapefruit League start for Washington on March 2nd against Miami, giving up two hits, a walk and a run in two innings of work.

"After his start he started feeling a little bit of discomfort," Williams said Friday.

"A little tight in there. That's why we got the MRI, just to take a look and reports are good, but we're just going to err on the side of caution and make sure he's good."

Twenty-four hours later, when Williams met with reporters before today's game against the Atlanta Braves, he had little new to report about Fister or the injury.

"Just treating it," he said. "Just going through all his treatment process, so nothing from yesterday to today."

Asked if Fister was taking anti-inflammatory medication, Williams said, "Yeah."

"Just getting ice, all the regular treatments you do for anything that's inflamed."

The Nationals haven't decided on any changes to the schedule for the starters yet, as they wait to see how Fister's elbow reacts to treatment. 

"That's up in the air," Williams said. "So we just don't know. He'll be out a couple of days, few days, get him to throw, see how it feels, determine at that point whether he wants to do a bullpen, needs to do a bullpen, and then determine what his next turn will be. But right now, just shut him down for a few and get it out of there."

The Nats' skipper did, however, reiterate that the results of the MRI were positive.

"The results were great," he said. "No structural issues. None of that. So it's inflammation and we've just got to get it out. It's good news, but we have to shut him down for a few days. That's okay."

As he said Friday, Williams explained again that the Nationals intend to err on the side of caution.

"Certainly you want to progress him through Spring Training and make sure that he's ready to pitch," Williams said today.

"But, if stuff like this happens, there's nothing you can do except get it healthy first and then proceed. So that's our plan of action. Time frame? We just don't know. But the good news about it is that structurally everything is good."

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