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Fister feels good about return despite loss to Rays

Jun 19, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

Jun 18, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Doug Fister (58) is taken out of the game by manager Matt Williams (left) in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

For five innings on Thursday night, Doug Fister matched Rays’ ace Chris Archer despite having not pitched in a major league game in over a month. But then he ran into trouble in the sixth inning and finished the night with his third loss of the season in a 5-3 Nationals defeat.

The end result aside, Fister took positives from his return from a right forearm strain. He adjusted his mechanics while rehabbing on the disabled list and still believes he has more hurdles to cross before he is fully back to form.

“I felt a lot better. Obviously it’s a work in progress,” he said. “I’m pleased with where I’m at at this point. It didn’t go our way tonight, but look at it objectively we’ve got some things that I can come in tomorrow and work on.”

Fister left in the sixth inning and ended the night with a line of 5 1/3 innings pitched, nine hits, five earned runs, three strikeouts, a home run and zero walks. Afterwards he spoke extensively about the mechanical adjustment he is working through.

“There was a couple of photos that I saw afterwards. The position my body was in, staying back over the rubber. Being able to use my legs and let my arm work freely. Those are very big keys for me,” he said.

“Staying back and using my legs. That’s the biggest thing. Before the injury, I was really getting top heavy and kind of leaning over my front leg and not really using my legs at all. All the stress was on my arm and my forearm and everywhere else. This allows me to really kind of get back into my legs and use some of my height as deception. Tonight seemed to feel a little bit better.”

Fister said he has a goal of building up to 100 or 110 pitches and called throwing 87 on Thursday a “step in the right direction.” He threw 70 pitches in his final rehab outing with Double-A Harrisburg last Friday night.

“You really have to build up to it. Any time you change mechanics or change your approach, you do have to take a little time and kind of rebuild back up to midseason strength,” he said. “

“Endurance-wise, that is something I take a lot of pride in running and really making sure that I’m able to go the distance, per se. But tonight… I felt good.”

  1. Joe Seamhead - Jun 19, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    I think that Fister will be fine and will return to form. Let’s hope that the same can be said about Strasburg.

    BTW, this is an interesting piece on ROY consideration in the AL. Sousa is not taken as a serious contender due to his low BA.

    http://www.si.com/mlb/2015/06/18/awards-watch-rookie-of-the-year-billy-burns-joc-pederson-kris-bryant

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 19, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      It’s also interesting that another ex-Nat, Nate Karns, is getting serious consideration.

      • nats128 - Jun 19, 2015 at 10:29 AM

        Nice to see Billy Burns, Nate Karns, and Steven Souza getting Rookie consideration.

      • Doc - Jun 19, 2015 at 11:52 AM

        Darn tootin’ it is great that former castoffs are in the ROY running. Other GMs know that Rizzo & Col have some good trade pieces.

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 19, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      If I were to place a bet, my money would be on Correa to take it. He is truly another generational talent and is the one most likely to have a head-turning rookie year. And he has been hyped for years, literally, by the MLB establishment.

      “Sousa is not taken as a serious contender due to his low BA.”

      Souza was not even mentioned in that piece, including his current BA, so where is the rationale for that coming from? His biggest problem is probably that he plays in a small market. Even if he hits 35-40, with a BA of .270, the deck is stacked against him. There has never been any hype for Souza, even when he was in DC.

      I see Souza as comparable to Todd Frazier the year Bryce won it, when there was not that much serious competition. This year is very different in the AL race, with a number of other guys who have been hyped for years, any one of whom could put up numbers big enough to take ROY.

      Put Steve JR. in Boston, NY, SF, Houston, Dallas or LA, and his stock would be much higher, as it currently is for Joc Pederson and Billy Burns.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 19, 2015 at 12:59 PM

        Excuse me, laddie, but you must have missed this from the piece:

        Meanwhile, among AL rookies, only Rays rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. has had more plate appearances this season, and Souza’s .222 batting average and lousy play in the field continue to keep him off this list entirely.

        Also, there two Rays mention in the top 5 AL candidates, both Joey Butler and Nate Karns..

      • Section 222 - Jun 19, 2015 at 4:53 PM

        No Nats fan will ever say “Souza” and “lousy play in the field” in the same sentence. Ever. 🙂

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 19, 2015 at 6:54 PM

        I was just quoting the piece after being slapped down about what was said.

    • scmargenau - Jun 19, 2015 at 4:18 PM

      He shouldn’t be. .222 is not good. Unless your section 222

      • Section 222 - Jun 19, 2015 at 4:52 PM

        🙂

  2. Doc - Jun 19, 2015 at 11:54 AM

    Let’s hope that Fister gets his FB up above 82-84 consistently. Otherwise he is the 2nd coming of LIvo.

    • Bruxtun - Jun 19, 2015 at 1:52 PM

      He was pitching 85-87 yesterday for at least the first 4 innings. Sounds like he’s still building up some strength, but I’d like to see him get to 88ish for 6 full.

  3. scmargenau - Jun 19, 2015 at 4:16 PM

    I don’t like this at all. Sounds like excuses and a downhill turn.

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