With how impressive Doug Fister has been over the last three years, it’s hard to imagine him having been anything else but a stud pitcher in his baseball career. The lanky 6’8″ right hander wasn’t always a premier ground-ball pitcher, though. He was also a first baseman.
Those skills came into play again on Thursday evening against the Philadelphia Phillies. The exciting play came in the first inning. Ryan Howard bounced a one-hopper to Adam LaRoche who instinctively threw it down to second base to try to start a 3-6-1 double play. The Nationals got lead runner Chase Utley, but shortstop Danny Espinosa, who received the throw hesitated just slightly before throwing to Fister, who was covering the bag. In a desperate attempt to finish the play off, Fister hearkened back to his junior college days and stretched. MLB.com put up the video pretty fast.
Nationals TV broadcasters F.P. Santangelo and Bob Carpenter didn’t pay nearly as much attention to the completely extended Fister as his teammates. LaRoche in particular was a little scared for his teammate. He told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post he was a bit in awe of the stretch.
“I asked him if he was all right,” LaRoche said. “I thought he blew out. He hopped up and was like, ‘No, I’m good.’ Like nothing happened. I couldn’t do it.”
Fister brushed it off as typical pitcher fielding, saying that his days as a first baseman just came back to him and he reacted out of instinct. “Flexibility, I guess.” Flexibility indeed. Fister has always shown himself to be excellent at fielding the position of pitcher, and with as many ground balls as he throws, that becomes a very valuable skill.
Tags: Washington Nationals