The 30-year-old right-hander experienced inflammation in his elbow this spring, then suffered a minor right lat strain in a minor league start after resting the elbow, setting him back further as he works towards making his first start for the Nats who acquired the five-year veteran from the Detroit Tigers last winter.
"Heavy exercise today," Williams said. "And we'll look to get him out there throwing... the plan is tomorrow depending on how he feels, but the next couple of days anyway."
Fister made just two starts this spring, so when he's able to resume his throwing program it will take some time for him to build up arm strength the way pitchers do during Spring Training and Grapefruit League games, but as Williams has noted previously, he won't exactly be starting from scratch.
"I think he's a little bit ahead of the game," the Nats' skipper said. "It's not like it's four months of not [throwing], but in that regard, pitchers during the winter throw as well, I mean, they're doing bullpens in January. So, we just have to see where he's at. He's a little bit ahead of that game, I think."
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"Through exercise he feels pretty good," Williams explained. "Again, the test is going to be throwing and extending in a controlled environment."
"When he gets out there and throws the ball and wants to let it go a little bit, that's the determining factor probably. But so far, so good."
According to a report from CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes this morning, Nats' Pitching Coach Steve McCatty told reporters that Fister threw from sixty feet and felt good afterwards:
No pain for Fister after throwing from 60 feet, McCatty says. #Nats— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) April 6, 2014
McCatty on Fister: 'He played catch at 60 ft today and he threw the ball fine. No pain, he didn't feel anything in the back or in the elbow'— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) April 6, 2014
Fister will have to build up arm strength as he works towards a return, but he took another important step in that process today.
In his fifth major league season in 2013, the 6'8'' starter finished at +4.6 fWAR, going (14-9) for the Tigers 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. The Nationals acquired Fister 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 Detroit.