LAKELAND, Fla. - Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty and manager Matt Williams delayed their departure for today's game against the Tigers in order to watch right-hander Doug Fister throw two innings in a minor league game.
McCatty liked what he saw, but wasn't ready to slot the right-hander, who is progressing in his recovery from right elbow inflammation, for his first regular season start.
"It was fine," McCatty said. "He gave up a hit on a curveball, but he hasn't thrown that many, which was fine. (Jayson Werth) got him, a base hit and a homer. But J-Dub gets paid a lot of money, too. But I think it was 30 pitches and two innings. I thought he threw the ball well, had nice movement. The best part: He had no complaints."
McCatty hopes Fister can throw three innings in his next outing, but he wasn't sure whether it would be in another minor league game or against Grapefruit League competition.
"In a game - somewhere," McCatty said.
The Nationals will re-evaluate Fister tomorrow, but aren't sure if he will make his first regular season start on schedule. McCatty said Fister's progress will help answer that question.
"Every time he goes out, we'll see," McCatty said. "The first question is, is his arm feeling good? That's the positive. Hopefully, he's ready for his first start, but he's day-to-day."
Update: We're officially in a rain delay. The tarp was briefly removed from the field around 12:30 p.m., then quickly replaced when light rain began to fall.