Doug Fister felt tightness in his elbow after his first start of the spring for the Washington Nationals on March 2nd. He was sent for an MRI and held out of Friday's planned outing against the Houston Astros when the diagnosis was inflammation in his right elbow.
"A little tight in there," Nationals' manager Matt Williams said that morning.
"That's why we got the MRI, just to take a look and reports are good, but we're just going to err on the side of caution and make sure he's good."
Twenty-four hours later when he met with the press, the Nats' skipper said there was nothing new to share after the initial report.
"Just treating it," he said. "Just going through all his treatment process, so nothing from yesterday to today."
Williams did, however, stress the fact that the results of the MRI were positive.
"The results were great," he said.
"No structural issues. None of that. So it's inflammation and we've just got to get it out. It's good news, but we have to shut him down for a few days. That's okay."
The reports on Sunday morning were positive.
"Improvement," Williams said. "He feels good. Again, we've medicated him. Gotten the inflammation starting to get out of there and we're just going to monitor him, see how it goes. But, a timetable for him? Just don't know yet either because we're just going to continue to see how he goes every day. But he's been pushed back. When that is, don't know yet."
On Monday, Williams delivered relatively good news:
Per Matt Williams, Doug Fister feels well enough to play catch tomorrow. First test to see how arm feels. No timetable beyond that.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 10, 2014
Doug Fister will throw off flat ground tomorrow, Matt Williams says. The inflammation in Fister's elbow is decreasing. He's coming along.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) March 10, 2014
Matt Williams say Doug Fister will throw tomorrow off flat ground. No timetable for his return.— Craig Heist (@cheistsports) March 10, 2014
Williams wasn't looking beyond today's scheduled throwing session though.
"'We gotta make sure that he’s good to go with every step and that’s the first one,'" he told reporters including the Washington Post's James Wagner.
The Nationals acquired Fister from the Detroit Tigers this winter after a strong (14-9) campaign in 2013 in which the five-year major league veteran posted 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. He finished at +4.6 fWAR.
In the four seasons he's been a full-time starter in the majors, Fister's been worth a total of +15.7 fWAR, good for 15th overall in baseball amongst starters over that span.
The next Nationals' starter on that list? Gio Gonzalez at +14.4, 19th overall.