June 17, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister will return from the disabled list to start Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Nationals will also hope to get back center fielder Denard Span, who is out of Wednesday's lineup with back tightness.

Fister went on the disabled list on May 15 with right forearm tightness after pitching to a 4.31 ERA in seven starts.

The day before, he allowed seven runs over two innings in his most recent outing, an 8-3 Nationals loss at the San Diego Padres.

''It was not allowing me to get my job done, and that's something that we can't toy around with,'' Fister said of the injury. ''We've got to win games here, period, and if that means me taking a step out, that's what I had to do.''

The Nationals are expected activate Fister and make a corresponding roster move Thursday.

Span has battled back issues throughout the season and had already missed three games in the month of June.

He's batting .303 with 20 RBIs and 28 runs scored as Washington's primary leadoff hitter.

''It's been manageable,'' said Span, who had played in seven straight games.

''Just getting off the plane with the travel, late flight, playing on turf for a couple days didn't help. I thought it was smart to give it a day, and hopefully it will feel a little bit better tomorrow.''

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