PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- On the final day in Florida for the Nationals, the team got some concerning news.
Off-season addition Doug Fister exited a minor league game after one inning with a strained right lat muscle. He was scheduled to throw 60 pitches.
Fister has dealt with elbow inflammation, which occurred after his first spring start on March 2. He finally was able to pitch last Saturday and pitched well against Miami going 3 2/3 innings allowing two hits and striking out four.
Fister tried to build up his arm strength in order to make his first start on April 6 at Nationals Park. After the outing on Thursday he was scheduled to throw in one more minor league game and then be ready for his start.
All of that is in question now and Matt Williams is definitely concerned.
"He will see the doctor in Washington tomorrow (Friday) and we will evaluate from there. It's definitely a setback."
Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan both pitched very well this spring and are fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation. Both are scheduled to pitch in the exhibition game Saturday at Nationals Park against the Tigers and right now it is hard to imagine both of them not making the rotation with the uncertainty of Fister's health.
This has been a possibility all spring and that's one of the reasons both are still in camp.
"They both earned the right to pitch," Williams said.
As far as Fister's availability for the start of the season, "We will have to see what the doctor says and where we're at," he said.
J Zimmermann is ready
Jordan Zimmermann concluded his dominant spring with five innings of work allowing no runs on four hits. His totals this spring were 18 innings pitched, 15 strikeouts, only one walk and one earned run. His ERA was 0.50. He starts game three of the year next Thursday in New York.
Matt Williams said he is leaning toward starting Anthony Rendon at second base, at least for the opener.
"I think it's premature at this point, still, to declare anybody but I'm leaning toward Anthony in that regard."
This isn't a surprise, it was his job to lose coming into Spring Training. Danny Espinosa has made the team and has had a pretty good spring.
The Nationals will play one final exhibition game Saturday at Nationals Park against the Tigers. It all starts for real next Monday at Citi Field against the Mets.
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