Doug Fister throws, says he’ll be ready to start the season

Doug Fister (58) pitches batting practice on Feb. 25. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
Doug Fister (58) pitches batting practice on Feb. 25. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Nationals right-hander Doug Fister, who has only pitched in one game this spring because of elbow inflammation, threw from flat ground Wednesday morning at the team’s spring training complex in Viera, Fla., and expressed no concern about his preparedness for the season.

“Stretched it out to 90 feet,” Fister said. “Felt good.”

Fister said his next step will be to “stretch it out a little bit further” on Thursday, the last step before he returns to throwing off a mound. Manager Matt Williams, who has consistently been optimistic about Fister’s ability to be ready for his first turn in the regular-season rotation, said earlier this week that Fister would have to throw a bullpen session before he returned to game action.

Fister’s only competitive appearance this spring came March 2, when he allowed a run on two hits and a walk while striking out two in a two-inning appearance against Miami. He was scratched from his next start with the inflammation, but an MRI exam revealed no structural damage, the Nationals said, and he was told to rest and receive treatment.

Asked Wednesday whether he was concerned whether his condition would prevent him from taking on enough of a spring workload to properly prepare for the season, Fister said, “No, not at all. I’ll be ready.”

The Nationals wouldn’t need a fifth starter until April 6, their sixth game of the season, and they could have a spot starter go that day if Fister needed more work. With two off days in the season’s first eight days, there would be further flexibility to work Fister in later if needed.

Barry Svrluga is the national baseball writer for The Washington Post.
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