Doug Fister won’t be ready to return from DL when eligible

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When the Tigers placed Doug Fister on the disabled list with a costochondral strain both Fister and the team trainer said they thought he’d avoid the month-long absence that was needed when he had the same injury earlier in the season.

That may prove accurate, but in the meantime Fister won’t be ready to return from the DL when eligible Wednesday. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s suffered any kind of setback, but it does suggest a month-long absence is well within the realm of possibility.

Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Fister tested his strained side muscle by throwing Saturday, but the right-hander was sore Sunday and will give it another try later this week.

Because of an off day on the schedule this week the Tigers can basically just skip Fister’s normal turn in the rotation, but Drew Smyly and the “mushier and mushier” blister from hell could further complicate things for Detroit’s banged-up starting staff.

Nationals sign George Kontos to minors deal

George Kontos
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The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.

Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.

Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.