Doug Fister expected to resume throwing Thursday

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Nationals right-hander Doug Fister battled elbow inflammation for much of spring training and then suffered a lat strain on March 27, forcing him to a season-opening disabled list stint. He is aiming to join Washington’s rotation around early May and currently appears to be on track to reach that goal.

According to beat writer Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Fister is expected to resume throwing on Thursday — first with light tosses from 60 feet on flat ground before eventually moving on to bullpen sessions and minor league rehab starts.

Fister was acquired this offseason from the Tigers in exchange for infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray. He had a cool 3.67 ERA in 208 2/3 innings last summer with Detroit.

Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan both opened the year in the Nats’ rotation because of Fister’s injury.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.