MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Fister shakes off long layoff in stellar season debut

Nationals right-hander induces 12 groundouts across 6 1/3 scoreless innings

Fister shakes off long layoff in stellar season debut

PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals right-hander Doug Fister was roughed up during Spring Training, but his season debut Saturday night was a different story.

He pitched 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowed six hits and induced 12 ground-ball outs during a 3-2 loss to the Phillies.

As usual, Fister credited the defense behind him for his success on the mound.

Even more impressive was that Fister had seven days of rest before his season debut. He was determined not to let the long layoff get the best of him.

"I think it's a mental situation where you don't want [the layoff] affecting you," Fister said. "For me, that's the attempt I took. I wanted to make sure I got enough work in between starts. I think I felt OK. Obviously, there is a little bit of rust."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.