Doug Fister felt tightness in his elbow after throwing

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Doug Fister isn’t out of the woods yet with his inflamed elbow, as the Nationals right-hander felt soreness after playing catch this morning for the third straight day.

James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that Fister is still tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday and the Nationals are hoping that it’s just some normal soreness after taking time off.

Picking him up from the Tigers was a big part of the Nationals’ offseason and drew a ton of praise for the surprisingly low price tag, but Fister hasn’t pitched in a game since March 2 and is running out of time to be ready for Opening Day even if the injury proves minor after an MRI exam showed no structural damage.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.