While Doug Fister was originally scheduled to start this afternoon's game against the Houston Astros in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, the Washington Nationals announced this morning that the 30-year-old right-hander has been scratched from today's outing with inflammation in his right elbow.
"He's got a little inflammation in his elbow," Williams told reporters. "So we had an MRI taken of it yesterday and it shows a little inflammation in there, so we're going to push him a couple of days just to make sure, get it out of there."
With Fister scratched, 27-year-old right-hander Tanner Roark will instead start this afternoon's game against the Astros. Roark made his 2014 debut against the New York Yankees four days back, giving up two hits in two scoreless innings of work in which he threw a total of 22 pitches.
Roark will make his second start of the spring, as he competes for a spot in the Nationals' rotation.
Roark made his MLB debut last season and finished an impressive run with the Nationals with a (7-1) record, a 1.51 ERA, a 2.41 FIP, 1 HR (0.17 HR/9) and 11 walks (1.84 BB/9) allowed and 40 Ks (6.71 K/9) collected in 14 games, five starts and 53 2/3 IP.
The right-hander started the season at Triple-A Syracuse, where he was (9-3) with a 3.15 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 20 walks (1.70 BB/9) and six home runs (0.51 HR/9) allowed and 84 Ks collected (7.15 K/9) in 33 games, 11 starts and 105 2/3 IP for the Nats' top affiliate.
Talking to reporters at NatsFest this winter, Roark said he was excited to get to Spring Training and compete for the fifth spot in the Nationals' rotation. "I'd love to be the fifth starter," Roark said, "but if I can make the team out of Spring Training, that would be great to help the team out any way I can."
• Here's the Nationals' lineup for this afternoon's game:
#Nats lineup vs #Astros: Span CF, Desmond SS, Werth RF, Harper LF, Zimmerman 3B, LaRoche 1B, Ramos C, Moore DH, Carroll 2B, Roark P— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 7, 2014
• Here's the Houston Astros' lineup:
Today at WSH: Grossman-cf; Altuve-2b; Krauss-1b; Carter-dh; Guzman-lf; Springer-rf; Corporan-c; Gonzalez-3b; Villar-ss; Oberholtzer-p— Houston Astros (@astros) March 7, 2014
Game Time: 1:05 pm EST from Viera, FL. Today's game is available via MLB.com's Gameday Audio and in the D.C. area on 1500 and 1580 AM with Charlie and Dave are calling the action.
Who's listening to the Nationals?