October 21, 2020

Nats Pregame: Fister, Hairston nearing rehab start

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals start a four-game series with the San Diego Padres at 7:05 Thursday, with Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 3.92) hosting LHP Eric Stults (1-2, 4.35).

Before the game, Nats manager Matt Williams updated the media on the status of two injured players nearing rehab stints.

Starting pitcher Doug Fister threw a bullpen session earlier in the day, throwing 40 pitches for the Nats pitching staff and reported feeling good during and after the session. He’s now scheduled to throw four innings and up to 60 pitches on Sunday, with the most logical destination being Potomac.

“I think it’s going to be at Potomac,” Williams said. “He felt good in the bullpen today, so he’s good to go for his next one and that one is four [innings] and 60-ish [pitches]. Depending on how he gets through it. The pitch count is one thing, but four ups and working into a real game situation is more important, but four and 60, roughly.”

Williams indicated Fister wasn’t thrilled with his location, but the skipper is more concerned with his pitcher getting through the sessions with nothing more than normal pitching soreness.

“I talked to him today about it,” Williams explained. “He said, ‘My location wasn’t exactly where I want it to be, but I felt good about it.’ So, that’s all I care about really. Is how he feels, because I know that the location will be there as he builds and as he gets stronger and he works into the fourth, sixth, seventh inning, it will be there. So I’m not concerned about stuff-wise right now, I just want to make sure that he feels good about it. And so far, so good. He feels good. Ready for his next one.”

Will the ‘next one’ be in the major leagues? “It depends on how he feels,” Williams responded. “But, generally, if he can get through this next one and get to five [innings] and 75-ish [pitches] then you would say he’s good to go for a major league start. It depends on how he feels though. So we’ll keep that in mind as we go. It’s still unclear. Got to get him through this next one.”

Williams then explained that outfielder Scott Hairston is about ready to take a rehab assignment as well. Hairston will take early batting practice with the team on Friday, then live BP on Saturday, along with his rehab work. If all goes according to plan, Hairston could begin a rehab assignment as early as Sunday or Monday. He’ll probably need four or five games (roughly 20 plate appearances) before being ready to be activated.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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