Doug Fister threw a bullpen session Monday in Miami, his second since straining his right lat muscle. He threw 50 pitches, the equivalent of two innings, and used of all of his pitches for the first time.
“Everything seems right on par of where I need to be,” Fister said. “It’s probably going to take a little bit to get back into ‘five inning’ feel, but everything felt real good today for a couple innings so I’m sure it’s going to roll fine.”
“He was a little winded, he told me afterward,” Manager Matt Williams said. “But physically it was good. Everything felt good. He’s progressing. It was a very good sign for him to go through that.”
Fister, the Nationals’ prized offseason acquisition, strained his lat pitching in a minor league spring training game March 27, after he had spent most of spring training recovering from elbow inflammation. He threw his first bullpen since the injury on Friday in Atlanta.
After Monday’s bullpen session, the next step would be for the right-hander to throw a simulated game against hitters. Williams said that simulated game could be with the team or elsewhere, perhaps in Viera. After 50 pitches, the next logical pitch count benchmark is 65 and then 80. After the simulated game, a rehab assignment is likely next, to allow Fister to pitch in a game situation before returning to the majors.
Fister admitted he is feeling “antsy” to pitch in a regular season game for his new team but doesn’t want to rush his return. He was encouraged by Monday’s progress.
“Another step in the right direction,” he said. “Where I want to be in this situation, feeling pretty good. Keep taking steps in the right direction of getting stronger, getting more in shape and get back out there.”