Random Nationals Notes, Quotes and More: Matt Williams on Doug Fister; Rotation ?s

Rob Carr

Washington Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister threw on Sunday for the first time since suffering a lat strain as he worked his way back after being shut down with elbow inflammation. Matt Williams talked about Fister's progress on Sunday afternoon.

Before Saturday's game with the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams updated reporters on Doug Fister's status as the right-handed starter works his way back from a minor lat strain suffered while he was working his way back from elbow inflammation.

"[Fister] threw today, out to 60 [feet]. And no issues. We'll continue that progress, so the next step is to 90..." - Matt Williams on Doug Fister on Sunday

"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."

The next test, the Nats' skipper explained then, would take place on Sunday when the 30-year-old pitcher was scheduled to throw for the first time since being shut down after an inning of work in a minor league start earlier this spring.

"Through exercise he feels pretty good," Williams said. "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."

Nationals' Pitching Coach Steve McCatty told CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes on Sunday afternoon that Fister was not-so-patiently going through the process of working his way back to the mound:

"'He doesn’t like sitting here and doing this,' McCatty said of Fister. 'He understands and knows there’s a process to doing it.'"

After the Nationals' 2-1 win over the Braves on Sunday, Williams provided another update.

"[Fister] threw today, out to 60 [feet]. And no issues," Williams said. "We'll continue that progress, so the next step is to 90 and then beyond that get him back going off the mound and probably looking at a flat ground first and then off the mound and progress. But today, no problem."

There's no timetable for Fister's return, but when/if he takes the mound it will be his Nationals debut after the trade this winter that brought him to Washington from Detroit. Acquired from the Tigers in a 3-for-1 deal, the 6'8'' starter finished at +4.6 fWAR in his fifth major league season in 2013, going (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.

One other rotation note:

During Sunday afternoon's game, Tanner Roark was spotted throwing in the bullpen. Roark started Thursday's series finale in New York after Jordan Zimmermann came down with flu-like symptoms. Williams told reporters after the game that he considered using Roark against the Braves if necessary.

"He was available," the Nats' Manager said. "Light side certainly in the pen to get a feel and if we had to use him late we'd use him late."

Asked why he was available out of the bullpen, Williams said, "Well, I guess we can answer that question on Tuesday, but he was available today with the off day coming."

Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, noting Williams' comments, wrote on Sunday that, "Williams presumably has good reason for the evasiveness, but it forces speculation."

The possibilities the WaPost writer threw out, "barring some well-hidden secret," either Roark needed extra work, or the Nationals might switch things up in the rotation order.

More info when it's available....

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