Nationals manager Matt Williams updated the recovery of starting right-hander Doug Fister, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right lat strain. Williams said Fister threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday and "felt good."
This means that Fister is on track to make a rehab start Sunday for high Single-A Potomac on Sunday in Woodbridge, Va. The plan is for Fister to go four innings with a 60-pitch limit.
Fister would then have one more rehab start and go five innings. All of these rehab starts are contingent on Fister coming out of each game feeling good with no setbacks to his lat.
"He felt good in the bullpen today and he is good to go for his next one," Williams said. "The pitch count is one thing but four ups and working in a real game situation is more important."
Williams got a chance to speak to Fister today for an update on how his stuff looked in the bullpen session. His command is not quite up to where he wants it, but that is not Williams' biggest concern when dealing with a lat strain.
"He said, 'My location wasn't exactly where I wanted it to be but I felt good about it,' " Williams said. "... All I care about really is how he feels because I know that the location will be there as he builds and as he gets stronger and he works into the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh inning. It will be there.
"I am not concerned with stuff-wise right now. I want to make sure that he feels good about it and so far, so good. He feels good, ready for his next one."
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez left last night's start in the sixth inning after facing just two batters. Williams reported after the game that Gonzalez was having some shoulder tightness. Today, Williams updated Gonzalez's condition.
"Today he (has) normal soreness, after-a-start soreness," Williams said. "He is going to take today and do a lots of treatment and make sure he is good to go. The telling day when he throws his 'pen, make sure he is good there. Can't really tell much now, a day after, 12 hours after. The next few days will give us a better idea."
Gonzalez is expected to throw his bullpen session on Saturday. The Nationals have off days on Monday and Thursday next week, so that will help.
"I am not that concerned," Williams said. "The fact (is) that he could go out there and pitch and be fine. It wasn't something where he went 'Oh!" I think that happens to pitchers over the course of a season anyway. I am not concerned about it. I don't think he is, either. You want to be careful but I don't think there is a major concern there."
Outfielder Scott Hairston, on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain, will do batting practice in the cage today and early batting practice tomorrow. The following day, he will do a regular batting practice session and all his outfield drills.
"Then we will look at getting him in game situations," Williams said. "He felt good today. After regular batting practices, we will see where we are at."