Fister ready to finally make his Nationals debut

May 8

Nationals right-hander Doug Fister has spent the entire season on the disabled list with a strained right lat. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Sometime soon, it might become commonplace to spot Doug Fister jogging down the streets near Nationals Park.

But don’t expect him to slow down. Fister, the right-handed starter who will make his Nationals debut Friday in Oakland, was known to run around Seattle near Safeco Field when he was with the Mariners two teams ago. Folks would recognize him, but Fister kept going. Nothing could distract him from his running.

“For me, it’s always been my mental release, my mental escape from anything,” Fister said. “It allows me not only to physically stay in shape but it’s a stress reliever. It’s a way to work out many problems. It’s a good thing for me.”

The avid distance runner, who enjoyed the scenic views Seattle had to offer, said he’s looking forward to seeing what the nation’s capital has in store. He’s heard plenty about the various running trails through the district. So in addition to catching Fister out near the ballpark, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 6-foot-8 right-hander running through Rock Creek Park or the National Mall this summer.

However, he hasn’t been able to do much of that in his downtime since becoming a National, as he began the year with a strained right lat that put him on the disabled list.

Now healthy, Fister is getting his first opportunity to pitch for Washington.

Though he hasn’t been running outdoors, Fister has maintained his routine inside on the treadmill.

“The running is something I’ve definitely kept up on,” he said. “I haven’t done it outside, but I want to make sure it’s maintained.”

Staying on top of that kind of cardio should help Fister with his endurance when he takes the mound against the A’s. Nationals manager Matt Williams said he won’t have Fister exert too much energy in his first start, since he’s had such a long layoff since the lat injury surfaced.

“I don’t think we can expect too much,” Williams said. “Doug being out that long, I don’t expect he’ll be able to go out there and throw 120 pitches.”

Williams said Fister’s pitch count will more likely be in the 100 range.

Fister said he’s ready, both mentally and physically, for his return to the mound.

“I’m anxious to help these guys and be a part of the team,” he said.

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Elliott Smith · May 8