Washington Nationals - TeamReport
MLB Team Report - Washington Nationals - INSIDE PITCH
Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister took a step forward Tuesday in his recovery from a right elbow ailment.
Fister, who missed a start in early March due to elbow inflammation, threw off of flat ground March 11 and came through it with no issues.
"He threw fine, feels good," manager Matt Williams said. "We will progress him to the next step and eventually get him back on the mound and back in the game. He felt good today."
Williams said Fister would get a day off and then take the next step.
"(We want to) stretch him out a little more on the flat ground, get him in the bullpen and get him in a game," the manager said.
Williams believes that Fister should be able to make his first start of the season in April if he has no setbacks the rest of the spring.
Fister first felt the discomfort March 2, and he was been given anti-inflammatory medicine and ice, and he was prescribed rest. Fister has pitched just one game this spring, allowing two hits, one run and one walk in two innings. He struck out two.
While Fister remains a concern, another Nationals right-hander starting pitcher is on a roll.
In his third start of spring, Jordan Zimmermann retired the first 12 batters he faced March 11, striking out four in Washington's 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees in Viera, Fla. In a span of three spring games and nine innings, Zimmermann allowed three hits, no runs and one walk and while striking out nine.
Williams said afterward the game that Zimmermann would get consideration to start Opening Day but that nothing was decided.
MLB Team Report - Washington Nationals - NOTES, QUOTES
--RHP Stephen Strasburg looked solid in his second spring start, an 11-1 win over the Cardinals. He walked the first two batters before getting on track. Strasburg allowed one run over three innings, gaining confidence in his slider. "When I'm in a jam, I'm going go to rely on the pitches that I'm confident in," Strasburg told the Washington Post. "It's a pitch that I'm working on.
--LHP Xavier Cedeno made five consecutive scoreless outings, including a three-up and three-down performance in the ninth inning of a 7-4 loss to the Astros on March 11. Cedeno had allowed two hits and two walks while striking out three over five innings.
--RHP Ross Ohlendorf left the March 6 game because of back spasms, but was able to play catch March 10. At the beginning of camp, Ohlendorf felt discomfort in his side and dealt with a finger laceration, but he told the Washington Post he is feeling better.
--RHP Ryan Mattheus remained out through March 10 because of chest inflammation. Manager Matt Williams told the Washington Post that Mattheus was stretched out to throw from 90 feet and then move to 120 feet if he feels good. Mattheus must build up arm strength after being shut down for 20 days.
--LHP Gio Gonzalez struck out the first five batters he faced but then allowed three hits, including a two-run homer to Carlos Corporan in a 7-4 loss to the Astros on March 10. Gonzalez had a little bit of trouble maintaining his consistency when having to pitch out of the stretch for the first time this spring. "That's what spring training's all about," Gonzalez told the Washington Post.
--LHP Michael Gonzalez, returning to the Nationals after spending last season with the Brewers, threw his first bullpen session March 9. Manager Matt Williams said the southpaw looked good. Gonzalez signed a minor league deal with the Nationals on March 4, feeling they offered the best chance to contend for a championship among the teams bidding on his services.