Q & A: Fister talks opportunity in 'pen, future
Nationals right-hander Doug Fister entered Thursday's game riding a 9 1/3-inning scoreless streak. Fister began the year as a starter, but found himself in the bullpen in August when the team decided to put Joe Ross in the rotation. It didn't help that Fister was dealing with forearm tightness and that he was inconsistent when he was taken off the disabled list on June 18th.
MLB.com caught up with Fister to talk about his recent success on the mound and his future in baseball.
MLB.com: You have pitched well lately. What's working for you?
Fister: Right about the time I went into the bullpen, I was starting to figure things out, getting healthy. Obviously, being in the bullpen has allowed me to have the time to figure things out. The last few outings, I have been getting into that groove of who I am, what I do and how I do it, whether it's mechanical or the mental side of the game. I had a lot of time to think and reassess where I am.
MLB.com: From a pitching standpoint, what have you figured out?
Fister: On the mechanical side of things, I was getting too low. As a tall guy, I don't have the velocity that a lot of these young guys have. So I have to rely on my pitching capabilities. Part of that is by deception and staying tall. I was getting too low on my back leg, sinking in and getting underneath the baseball. So I was flattening out. All these little intrigues play out in a big way. … It's the mentality of keeping it simple.
MLB.com: Were you surprised the Nationals gave you a short leash to figure it out in the rotation?
Fister: I was a little surprised. [Going to the bullpen] is not where I wanted to go. I also took the assignment to the bullpen with a positive attitude. I said, "Hey, this is the cards I'm dealt with right now. I need to succeed with this." For me, I have that flexibility and ability to be [the] bullpen member that I need to be. I feel in my heart that I can still be a successful starter. I also know and I proved to myself that I can be a bullpen member, too.
MLB.com: You were coming off a great year in 2014, but you didn't complain after you were demoted this year. Why?
Fister: I think the biggest thing for me is, I'm one of 25. I want to take care of my teammates. That's No. 1, and baseball will take care of itself. I wasn't performing well. There were others who were. I would rather have the respect of my teammates knowing that I come to work every day and do what I can. That's enough for me to look in the mirror and go to sleep every day.
MLB.com: You are going to be a free agent after the season. What are you plans?
Fister: I haven't really looked at it. As of right now, I'm still in this uniform. I'm a pitcher on this team. … I' haven't really looked into [free agency]. Someday, I would like to be a starter again, whether it's here or somewhere else. How many days we have here? I will wear this uniform proudly and continue to do so.