Update: 5:00 pm EDT: Apparently, when Matt Williams talked to reporters today, he said Doug Fister starting on Wednesday is not a sure thing, and he could potentially start Friday in Oakland instead:
Williams says Fister might not start until Friday at OAK. He's ready to go Wed. but they might decide to keep Strasburg on normal rest.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) May 3, 2014
Fister may make his first start Friday, not Wed. Williams worried about giving Strasburg too much rest after he threw 83 pitches last night.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 3, 2014
Doug Fister threw four innings with the High-A Potomac Nationals last Sunday. It was his first rehab start as he worked his way back from a minor lat strain that interrupted his attempts to return from elbow inflammation which limited his activity this spring in his first Spring Training with the Washington Nationals who acquired him from the Detroit Tigers in a 3-for-1 trade this past winter.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters in the nation's capital last weekend that it would likely take just one more rehab start before Fister was ready to make his debut for the Nationals.
"It depends on how he feels," Williams cautioned. "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," the first-year manager reiterated. "So we'll keep that in mind as we go. It's still unclear. Got to get him through this next one."
Fister pitched for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators last night in that second outing, throwing 76 pitches though he went just 3 2/3 innings. He told reporters including The Washington Post's James Wagner that he thought he was ready to pitch in the majors next time out:
"'I do feel like I’m ready,' he said. 'Physically, I’m to the point where I can go out there and throw [up] to 100 pitches and have the stamina to continue. It’s a matter of now I need to fine-tune enough to go out there and command the baseball. That’s gonna come with time. I feel like I’m ready to go out and attack it.'"
After the Nationals' win last night in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Williams told reporters he received positive reports on Fister's Double-A start.
"He came out fine," Williams said. "They said something about he got almost his pitch count, 78 or something like that but everything is good."
In his two rehab starts, Fister has surrendered eight hits, three walks and five runs, two earned, while striking out five in 7 2/3 IP. The former Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers' starter made two starts for the Nationals this spring before the injury issues cropped up, giving up just four hits and one earned run in 5 2/3 IP in which he struck out six and held opposing hitters to a .211 BAA.
Fister apparently joined the Nationals in Philadelphia after last night's outing in Reading, PA, and he told reporters today that he will be able to make his next start for the Nationals this week when they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a quick three-game set in the nation's capital:
Doug Fister says he's good to go Wednesday vs. Dodgers. "I feel right where I need to be."— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) May 3, 2014
Doug Fister pronounces himself ready to rejoin #Nats' rotation Wednesday vs. Dodgers. "Pretty amped about it." Had final rehab start Fri.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 3, 2014
In 2013, Fister finished his fifth major league season at +4.6 fWAR, 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 for the Tigers.
There is no official word on Fister starting the series finale with the Dodgers this Wednesday as has been discussed, but Fister, at least, has declared himself ready:
• We talked briefly about Fister and a whole lot more on last night's ramshackle edition of Nats Nightly: