Doug Fister returned to the Nationals' rotation on Thursday for his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list and, as a result, adjustments were made to their pitching staff.
The Nats' scheduled starters will now be pushed back a day with rookie Joe Ross pitching on Friday, Max Scherzer on Saturday and Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. And, though manager Matt Williams avoided specifics when discussing the corresponding move, it appears Tanner Roark is headed back to the bullpen.
"It just means everybody gets pushed. Fister takes his spot. It's like an off-day in the grand scheme of it. Everybody gets pushed a day," Williams said.
Right-hander Taylor Hill was sent back down to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Fister, who rejoins the team after missing over a month with a right forearm strain.
Fister made seven starts this season before going on the DL after an outing against the Padres in San Diego. He is 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA on the year.
Williams cited Roark's attitude and versatility as making transitions like this easy for the coaching staff.
"It's certainly a luxury to know that Tanner can do all of those things. If do have an issue like we do with Doug or with [Stephen Strasburg], then he inserts back into the rotation and can do great and pitch well for us," he said.
"I think [his mentality] is the overriding factor. He just doesn't care. If it's an inning, he's ready to pitch that inning. If it's three, he's ready for that. And if it's a start, he's ready for that. He enjoys the opportunity to pitch whatever that is and whenever that is. He's proven that he can handle all of it."
Williams said he does not anticipate any pitch count or innings restrictions for Fister, who started twice in his recently completed minor league rehab assignment. Fister pitched 9 2/3 innings between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg, allowing one earned run on nine hits and no walks.
"I'm sure there will be questions to him in between innings. 'Are you feeling okay?' ... For me it's a health issue. Making sure he doesn't feel any tightness. As long as that's the case, then he's good to go. We'll monitor it through the game in that regard," Williams said.