When Washington Nationals' Manager Matt Williams updated reporters last week on Doug Fister's progress as he rehabs from a strained right lat, the 30-year-old right-hander was progressing through flat ground sessions at increased distances with an eye on getting back on the mound.
"[Fister] threw today, out to 60 [feet]. And no issues," Williams said on Saturday.
"We'll continue that progress, so the next step is to 90 and then beyond that get him back going off the mound and probably looking at a flat ground first and then off the mound and progress. But today, no problem."
On Sunday afternoon, the Nationals' skipper said the former Detroit Tigers' starter took another step. "Flat ground today," Williams said. "Came through it well and his next step is a bullpen."
Fister threw his first bullpen on Monday with Williams watching.
"He was really good," Williams told reporters before the series opener in Miami. "Essentially had two ups. About 50 pitches and he was a little winded, he told me afterward, but physically it was good. Everything felt good and he's progressing and it's a very good sign for him to go through that today and have no problems."
The Nationals are in the process of getting Fister stretched out, going through the same process all pitchers go through in Spring Training.
"We have to got to progress him like we would during Spring Training," Williams explained. "And he's done his two ups now. He'll progress to that simulated game and then we'll start him in those real games and monitor his pitches and see where he goes."
"'How close is he?'" Williams asked rhetorically. "Well he's as close as feeling good every time he goes out there and that natural progression will take care of itself, whatever that is. But to be to 50 pitches in a bullpen, that's a lot and it's a good sign that he got through it and feels great about it."
It's still going to be a little while, but barring any setbacks, Fister is a step closer to his regular season debut with the Nats.
While we wait for that, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!
• THE BIG STORY!!!:
• "Nationals right-hander Doug Fister took the next step in his rehabilitation process Monday afternoon at Marlins Park." - "Fister completes bullpen session, eyes sim game" - Christina DeNicola and Teddy Cahill, nationals.com: News
• NATS BEAT:
• "Williams said the stumble aggravated the quad, but Harper said he simply tripped over his feet." - "Bryce Harper exits with quad tightness, expects to play Tuesday" - James Wagner, Washington Post
• "In 2013, after losing three straight to the Braves, the Nationals bounced back with a blowout win in Miami against the Marlins." - "Nationals’ bench continues strong start to season in win over Marlins" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "Harper had three of the Nats' 11 extra-base hits tonight, and said the big hits were contagious." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper on his health, Zimmermann on his outing, Leon on his first big league homer" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper exited Monday night's 9-2 win over the Marlins with a tight left quad for precautionary reasons." - "Nationals' Bryce Harper nursing tight left quad, expects to play Tuesday" - Christina DeNicola, nationals.com: News
• "Before this season, Kevin Frandsen started only five games in the outfield in eight seasons in the majors." - "Injuries mean a larger role for Kevin Frandsen in the outfield" - James Wagner, Washington Post
• "Two players central to the Washington Nationals’ plans began the season puzzlingly slow." - "Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann lead Nationals to 9-2 rout of Marlins" - The Washington Post
• "Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple before being pulled from the game due to what manager Matt Williams said was some minor quad tightness..." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams discusses Nats' 9-2 romp over Marlins" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "The Nationals broke out for a season-high 16 hits and tied a club record with 11 for extra bases." - "Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins - April 14, 2014" - Christina DeNicola, MLB.com WSH Recap
• "Through 13 games this season, the Nationals have committed 13 errors, tied for the third most in baseball with the Marlins and White Sox." - "Nationals hope to improve early defensive miscues" - James Wagner, Washington Post
• "Espinosa is 9-for-26 (.346) with four doubles, a triple, two walks, five strikeouts and a stolen base on the young season. He's reaching base at a .414 clip and is slugging .577." - "Nationals Pastime: On Espinosa's strong start to 2014" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Steven Souza Jr. arrives just in time for first big league call-up" - James Wagner, Washington Post
• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
Pay more attention to compassion and you’ll find you’re happier. It’s that practical and simple.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) April 14, 2014
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
• "The Washington Nationals stretched Miami’s losing streak to eight Monday night after putting a pounding on Brad Hand early and Kevin Slowey late..." - "Miami Marlins’ losing streak reaches eight after loss to Nationals" - Manny Navarro, MiamiHerald.com
• "If starting pitching indeed sets the tone, it is easy to see what has gone wrong for the Marlins during their losing streak." - "Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins - April 14, 2014" - Joe Frisaro, MLB.com MIA Recap
Tell your kids a story about a hero today. Jackie Robinson #42, your echo carries on. #respect— Ian Desmond (@IanDesmond20) April 15, 2014
• "Nothing has gone right for the Marlins since they sent Jordan Zimmermann to the earliest shower of his career last week in Washington." - "Hand roughed up by Nationals" - Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel
• "Not even coming back to Home Sweet Home was enough to stop the Marlins’ woes." - "Marlins not helped by return home, lose 9-2 to..." - Greg Stoda, www.palmbeachpost.com
• "Former No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg aims for a second straight dominant effort against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night..." - "Washington Nationals (8-5) at Miami Marlins (5-9), 7:10 p.m. (ET)" - MiamiHerald.com
• "How are they doing this? 1-5. After the Braves swept Washington this weekend in Atlanta, this is the Nationals record against Atlanta now." - "Atlanta Braves Making a Statement to Washington: Nationals Nation" - Robert Pannier, guardianlv.com
• "Blake Treinen got the call about 10 minutes before midnight Friday, and it confused him." - "Former SDSU ace Blake Treinen rises to big leagues" - Terry Vandrovec, Argus Leader
• "Former UW-Stevens Point starter Jordan Zimmermann earned his first win of the season last night for the Washington Nationals." - "WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers' winning streak ended by Cardinals" - Pierce County Herald
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." -Jackie Robinson #42— Zachary Walters (@Zwalters02) April 15, 2014
• "Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was unavailable to pitch Monday night because of soreness in his right shoulder, and he is expected to be rested for a few days." - "Craig Kimbrel of Atlanta Braves to miss a few days with sore shoulder" - Jerry Crasnick, ESPN
• "Former Duluth Huskies infielder Zach Walters has been called up the big leagues by the Washington Nationals, it was announced on Sunday evening." - "Ex-Huskies IF Walters Called Up by WSH" - Northlands News Center
• "If all goes well with the Revs, [Anthony] Lerew feels the Washington Nationals might come calling for his services. He worked out for Nats' executives recently at the club's double-A affiliate in Harrisburg." - "York Revolution will have more local flavor at start of 2014 season" - John Walk, York Dispatch
• NATS MINORS:
• "Matt Skole was the hero in a walk-off winner for Double-A Harrisburg as the Senators beat Altoona 4-3 in 10 innings." - "Pair of walk off winners down on the Nats farm" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "First baseman Matt Skole, the Nationals' No. 7 prospect, began the season mired in a deep slump." - "No. 7 prospect Skole delivers clutch hits" - Christina DeNicola, Teddy Cahill, nationals.com: News
• "Here is the working list of Washington Nationals prospects for your perusal." - "Washington Nationals Preliminary Prospect List" - John Sickels, Minor League Ball
• "Tuesday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com
• Low-A Hagerstown: Suns 2, Shorebirds 9 - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard
• High-A Potomac: "Winning 6-5, the Nationals never allowed the Mudcats to lead in the game and with the victory, took the series triumph to yield a (4-3) homestand." - "Norfork Scores Game-Winning Run in 9th to Propel P-Nats to First Walk-Off Win in 2014 Over Carolina Mudcats in Series Finale" - Potomac Nationals News
• Double-A Harrisburg: "Until the eighth inning Monday night, the Harrisburg Senators uniform was becoming a outfit of horrors for Matt Skole." - "Matt Skole, after two clutch hits Monday night, is finally finding comfort in his Harrisburg Senators' uniform" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com
• Double-A Harrisburg: "Not long ago, Destin Hood ranked as one of the Washington Nationals' top outfield prospects." - "Destin Hood named first Harrisburg Senators Player of the Week for 2014" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com
• "Low on health but the enemies here are weak." - Harper, Nationals Baseball
• "Ian Desmond describes his teammates in one word" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog
• "Aaron Barrett had an auspicious beginning to his minor league career." - "Aaron Barrett Was Impressive In First Stint With Nationals" - David Driver, Pressbox DC
• "While this tiny selection of numbers is troublesome, there is one other set of numbers that are more concerning for the Nationals and Jordan..." - "Nationals Buzz: Stuart Wallace: Decrease in Jordan's velocity is troublesome development" - Stuart Wallace, MASNSports.com
• "While just 13 games into the year, the Washington Nationals 2014 campaign has really been the tale of two seasons." - "Nationals Look Like A Completely Different Team, Clobber Marlins 9-2" - William Yoder, The Nats Blog
• "The power the Washington Nationals lacked Sunday against the Atlanta Braves returned, swing after swing, in the team’s 9-2 win over the Miami Marlins Monday." - "Washington Nationals Game 13 Review: Rendon, Leon Lead Nats Past Marlins" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page
• "Get To Know A Nat 2014: Aaron Barrett" - Court Swift, Nationals 101
• "Qualifying Offers; are they working?" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race
• NL EAST UPDATES:
• Phillies: "Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves was ugly for myriad reasons; the bullpen responsible for nearly all of them." - "Sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley
• Mets: "Lots of interesting, funny, idiotic, and insightful things were said by the Mets—and about them—recently. Here are some of our favorites." - "This Week In Mets Quotes: Who's on first, Wright on self diagnosis, Valverde on age" - Joe Sokolowski, Amazin' Avenue
• Braves: "After beating up on the Washington Nationals all weekend, the Atlanta Braves reached a point Monday night where they appeared to be rolling toward a nice, methodical win over the Philadelphia Phillies." - "Resilient Braves respond to every challenge" - Jerry Crasnick, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN