WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Doug Fister acknowledged Friday that he wasn't pleased to learn that he had been taken out of the rotation in favor of right-hander Joe Ross.
Washington needed to make a move because Stephen Strasburg is returning to the rotation Saturday against the Rockies, and Ross has been one of the team's best starters recently.
"It's honesty. It's honesty with him and letting him know what we're thinking and what we want to do for the remainder of the season," manager Matt Williams said. "It's not easy, but he [handled] it with professionalism and told us that he's ready to go whenever we need him. He is about winning baseball games and providing what he can to our team."
Fister, who led the Nationals with 16 victories last year, has had it rough in 2015, going 4-7 with 4.60 ERA in 15 starts. He last pitched Monday against the D-backs, throwing six innings and allowing five runs and three home runs. A finesse pitcher, Fister is having problems keeping the ball down this year. He dealt with forearm tightness that put him on the disabled list in May, but said he is healthy now.
"Early on in the year I had some trouble staying healthy," Fister said. "I had some hiccups coming back from it. It's what it is. We got to put that behind us and go out to play ball."
Fister will now be on a bullpen schedule, and he is curious to see how well he can work on his pitching mechanics in his new role. Across seven Major League seasons, Fister has made 167 starts and three relief appearances.
"There is no schedule when it comes to the bullpen," Fister said. "That does make it a little more interesting when it comes to that. I just have to stay on top of it and be able to talk to Cat [pitching coach Steve McCatty]."