Nationals’ Doug Fister has efficient rehab start for Double-A Harrisburg

Tonight’s minor league rehab start in Harrisburg for Washington Nationals’ right-hander Doug Fister went about as well as the club and pitcher could have hoped. Fister shut out the Trenton Thunder in the Senators’ 4-2 win, and looked like a Major Leaguer pitching to outclassed hitters nearly the entire six-inning start.

Fister, who was placed on the disabled list on May 14 with a flexor strain, allowed base runners in only one inning, the third. With the exception of the two base hits and hit batsman in that inning, he did not allow another baserunner or hard hit ball. Fister needed only 70 pitches for his six innings, and threw 47 strikes. He threw 11 pitches or less in every inning but the third, and worked quickly and effectively on the mound. The tall righty was all business and threw all of the pitches in his arsenal for strikes.

Fister relied heavily on his fastball, which topped out in the mid-80’s. He also mixed in a good curveball that resulted in several strikeouts. Fister recorded 10 outs in the air and three via groundball.

This was the second rehab start for Fister. He previously threw 3.2 innings for Triple-A Syracuse last week. On the season, Fister is 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA and has struck out 4.1 per nine, a career-low for the pitch-to-contact soft-tosser. He had been expected to be a fixture in the back end of the Nationals’ rotation following a 16-6 2014 campaign that saw him post a career-low 2.41 ERA. Fister is eligible to come off the disabled list, and looks ready to return to Washington. His return to health could not have come at a better time for the Nationals who have been forced to scramble with Stephen Strasburg continuing to struggle with inconsistency and injury this season.

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