Just a handful of days ago, Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister was sidelined with elbow inflammation that put the start of the 2014 season in jeopardy, but on Tuesday afternoon, the organization received some very positive news about his prospects for a quick return.
Pitching coach Steve McCatty says Doug Fister played catch this morning and looked fine.
— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 11, 2014
It was already known that Fister didn’t have any structural damage to speak of in his pitching elbow, but reports of him throwing with a regular motion are overtly encouraging. The Nationals were able to acquire the 30-year-old Fister for what many consider to be a highly discounted package from the Tigers, and Washington is expecting to see the “good” version of Fister when the season opens.
In 2013, Fister’s ERA rose a bit from previous levels (3.67 up from 3.45 in 2012 and 2.83 in 2011), but much of that can be attributed to the atrocious infield defense put forth by Detroit, and as a result, his fWAR was a very solid 4.6 in 208.2 innings with the Tigers. Fister has a unique skill set in that he isn’t a strikeout guy, but he has pinpoint control and can pitch effectively on the fringes of the strike zone to set up the opposing hitter.
If he is at full strength, the Nationals likely have the best 1-through-4 in terms of starting pitching in all of baseball, and Fister took a nice step on Tuesday.