While the Nationals and Taylor Jordan were in the nation's capital this afternoon taking on the San Diego Padres in the series finale in Nationals Park, 30-year-old right-hander Doug Fister, who has yet to throw a major league pitch for the Nats after they acquired him from the Detroit Tigers this winter, was making a start for the Nats' High-A Carolina League affiliate, the Potomac Nationals.
It was Fister's first rehab outing after dealing with elbow inflammation this spring and then suffering a right lat strain as he built up arm strength. According to reports from Pfitzner Stadium, things went well for Fister the first time out in competitive action:
Now Doug Fister likely done after 4 IP & 59 pitches. Gave up 6 H (2 would be outs in majors), 2 UER, 2 DP, 3 Ks. Two errors made behind him.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) April 27, 2014
In Potomac, @dougfister58 allowed 3 unearned runs on 6 hits with 3 Ks and no walks in 4.0 innings of work. He threw 59 pitches, 42 strikes.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 27, 2014
Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked about the plans for Fister earlier this week after he threw a bullpen session in Nationals park. "He felt good in the bullpen today," Williams said, "so he's good to go for his next one and that one is four [innings] and 60-ish [pitches]. Depending on how he gets through it. The pitch count is one thing, but four ups and working into a real game situation is more important, but four and 60, roughly."
Fister got through the four innings today with no reports of any issues. The next step? Williams explained the tenative plan.
"It depends on how he feels," he said. "But, generally, if he can get through this next one and get to five [innings] and 75-ish [pitches] then you would say he's good to go for a major league start.
"It depends on how he feels though. So we'll keep that in mind as we go. It's still unclear. Got to get him through this next one."
Fister's long awaited debut could be just one rehab start away barring any setbacks or issues. The fact that he is lined up and starting on the same day as Taylor Jordan has led to some speculation that he will eventually replace the struggling 25-year-old right-hander when he is ready, but the Nationals, obviously, have not commented on those plans as of yet.
After Fister finished his fifth and final season in Detroit at +4.6 fWAR, the Nationals acquired the 6'8'' righty from the Tigers in a 3-for-1 trade for 22-year-old lefties Ian Krol and Robbie Ray and 25-year-old utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi. Fister was (14-9) with 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 for the Tigers in 2013.