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Nationals' Starter Doug Fister Throws Bullpen Session

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters earlier this week that Doug Fister would have to progress from flat ground to a bullpen session before he could return to game action. The 30-year-old right-hander threw a bullpen session this morning...

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Barring any setbacks, Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams told reporters earlier this week that Doug Fister would slowly work his way back from throwing on flat ground to the mound after resting with inflammation in his right elbow.

"I think [pitching coach Steve McCatty is] looking at giving him a day," Williams said on Tuesday.

Another throwing session was scheduled for Thursday, and the plan after that was to take it slowly.

"Getting him back," Williams explained, "stretch him out a little more on the flat ground and get him in a bullpen, get him in a game. So, time frame? Not sure. Depends on how he reacts after the next one. I think we'll give him tomorrow then throw him on the next day. See how he is there... get him in a bullpen."

Fister threw for three days in a row, however, and Williams told reporters after Thursday's session that the 30-year-old right-hander felt tightness in his elbow.

The Nats' skipper cautioned that the weather was an issue, so they would move forward with the plan to have him throw a bullpen session today.

"'It's a cold, windy day out there so we're not putting too much into that, but he was a little tight out there today,'" Williams told reporters including MASN's Dan Kolko.

"'We'll see how he feels tomorrow and adjust if we need to adjust.'"

Fister told reporters, as quoted by the Washington Post's James Wagner, that he didn't view the tightness as a setback though he had no explanation for it.

"Fister believes the increased activity after time off and his original elbow discomfort were factors," the WaPost reporter wrote. "'It’s a combination of both,'" Fister said. "'I don’t know what to think.'"

The bullpen session was scheduled for today. Williams said previously that if things went as planned, Fister could still make it back in time for the start of the season.

"He may not be able to get built up as much as the other guys, but nonetheless he'll be fine. He'll be fine to start if we need him to start if all goes to plan."

According to a tweeted report by the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, today's session went well:

Fister's only start so far this spring came on March 2nd against Miami, when he gave up two hits, a walk and one earned run in two innings. He's only thrown on flat ground since then. The right-hander was acquired this winter in a 3-for-1 deal with Detroit this winter. In his fifth major league season in 2013, Fister finished 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.