Doug Fister will make his long anticipated season debut on Friday night for the Nationals, taking the hill against Tommy Milone and the Oakland Athletics. Washington’s top offseason acquisition has been bothered by a strained right lat that forced him to spend the season’s first five weeks on the disabled list. Both the Nationals and Fister appear eager to get things rolling again, according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee.
“I’m looking forward to just getting back to pitching, just in general,” Fister said. “I’m pitching in Oakland. I’ve seen those guys a lot. It’s going to come down to a big chess game. For me, I have to go out there and execute.”
Fister arrived in Washington following a trade with the Detroit Tigers in December. Washington shipped three players to the Tigers in the deal – second baseman Steve Lombardozzi, reliever Ian Krol, and starter Robbie Ray. Lombardozzi has since been moved to the Baltimore Orioles, while Krol has struggled out of the Tigers' bullpen. Ray made his MLB debut earlier this week, pitching well enough to pick up the win against the Houston Astros.
Adding Fister to the Nationals appeared to give the team one of the best starting rotations in baseball before he was forced to miss time with the injury. Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmermann have all gotten off to strong starts to the season, but the team has struggled to find consistent production from the rest of their starters to date. Installing Fister – who went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over 208 2/3 IP a season ago – back into the mix should only help the team in what’s proving to be a tough NL East division that they were considered a strong favorite to win heading into the season. Fister has seen success in his career against the A’s. He’s made 12 starts against the team while with the Tigers and Seattle Mariners, boasting a 5-5 record and 3.17 ERA over 71 IP. He was, however, hit hard in his lone outing against the team last season, when he allowed seven runs on 13 hits over five innings.