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Doug Fister injury: Nationals starter will begin rehab assignment Sunday

After a problem-free bullpen session, the Nats have cleared Fister to begin working his way back to the majors.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals right hander Doug Fister is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with High-A Potomac, according to Nats Insider's Chase Hughes. He recently made his way through a 40-pitch bullpen session without issue, and the club hopes to see him reach 60 pitches in his next outing.

Fister suffered a right lat strain that has prevented him from debuting for his new club.

The former Tiger was traded to the Nats in a much-maligned deal that sent Ian Krol, Robbie Ray, and Steve Lombardozzi to Detroit.

Washington isn't planning to rush Fister back. If his next start goes well, they plan to increase his pitch total to around 75 for the following start. First-year manager Matt Williams sounds optimistic about Fisters recovery.

"I talked to him today about it and he said ‘my location wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I felt good about it.’ That’s all I care about, is how he feels because I know the location will be there as he builds and as he gets stronger. Once he works into the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh inning, it will be there."

The Nats have gotten some useful innings out of Tanner Roark in Fister's absence -- 3.80 ERA in 23⅔ innings -- but Taylor Jordan has struggled with a 6.80 ERA in 21⅔ innings. Both pitchers have started four games, and their peripheral stats -- FIP and xFIP -- are similar, but when Fister returns, one of them might be headed back to the minors.