Washington Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister completed his second rehab start on Friday night, throwing 76 pitches over 3 2/3 innings for the Harrisburg Senators. His next start will be in a Nationals uniform, though the Nats haven't yet decided just when that will take place. Matt Williams discussed the possibility of pushing Fister back to this coming Friday's game in Oakland so that Stephen Strasburg can pitch on regular rest in the series finale with LA on Wednesday. Either way, the Nationals' skipper said he was happy to have Fister finally set to join the rotation.
"It's good for him and it's good for us," Williams told MASN's Dan Kolko on Saturday. "He was certainly part of the plan going in and a really good pitcher. So, I don't know. We have to caution ourselves about expecting too much first time out, pitch count-wise, inning-wise, all of that, but his health is most important and so far he's good in the rehab, and we look for him to go out there and be competitive and pitch for us and we'll see where he gets to, but we're glad to have him back."
Fister told reporters, including the Washington Post's James Wagner, that he felt ready after his second competitive outing of the year though he's still working on getting his command back to where he wants it:
"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."
Command is key for the ground ball pitcher, who posted the fourth-highest ground ball percentage amongst major league starters last season (54.6% GB%) behind only his now-former teammate Rick Porcello (55.1%), A.J. Burnett (56.5%) and Cleveland's Justin Masterson, who led the majors with a 58% GB% last season.
Meanwhile, in other Nats' rehab news, 26-year-old catcher Wilson Ramos is back in action this afternoon after two games in extended Spring Training in Florida. Ramos is serving as the DH for the Hagerstown Suns today, which is too bad, only because if he was behind the plate he would have been catching no.1 prospect Lucas Giolito, who throws for the Suns today.