The Washington Nationals optioned outfielder Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday afternoon following the Nats' series-clinching win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move cleared the way for the Nationals to re-instate 30-year-old right-hander Doug Fister today. Acquired in a 3-for-1 trade with the Detroit Tigers this winter, Fister dealt with elbow inflammation and a minor right lat strain this spring which delayed the start of his first season in Washington's rotation.
The 6'8'' veteran will start his sixth MLB season tonight in the O.co Coliseum where the Nationals start a three-game series with the Oakland A's. Before he was acquired by the Nats, Fister put together a strong 2013 campaign with the Tigers, 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 innings, over which he was worth +4.6 fWAR. The towering, ground ball-inducing righty came to the Nationals in return for 22-year-old lefties Ian Krol and Robbie Ray and 25-year-old utility man Steve Lombardozzi.
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo talked this winter in an interview with ESPN980's Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan about the impact the rotation addition could have for the Nationals' already-strong starting corps and how they eventually settled on Fister as a target as the Nats sought out a deal.
"It was kind of a collaboratory agreement here in the front office," Rizzo explained, "with our sabermetrics guys and our scouts in the field kind of both really [identifying] this guy as a guy that was undervalued and a guy that could really step into our rotation and really aid us in kind of completing the rotation and giving us what we need to maybe take the next step in our progression."
Nationals fans finally get to see the right-handed starter on the mound in the majors tonight after he completed two minor league rehab starts and was cleared to return from the DL.
Fister and the Nationals take on the Athletics in the first game of three in Oakland tonight at 10:05 pm EDT.
• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the series opener with the A's: