Doug Fister cleared to return from sore elbow this Saturday

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Via Mark Zuckmeran of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider:

VIERA, Fla. — Three weeks removed from his first (and only) appearance in a Grapefruit League this spring, Doug Fister is ready to face big-league hitters again.

Fister, out since March 2 with elbow inflammation, is scheduled start Saturday against the Marlins, Nationals manager Matt Williams said.

Fister threw two-plus innings in a minor league game on Monday and experienced no discomfort in his shoulder.

He is scheduled to go three innings (or 45 pitches — whichever comes first) in his return to Grapefruit League action on Saturday afternoon versus the Marlins and the hope is that he won’t have to miss a single turn in the Nationals’ regular-season starting rotation.

Fister was acquired from the Tigers this winter infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handers Robbie Ray and Ian Krol. The 30-year-old right-hander had a steady 3.67 ERA in 208 2/3 innings last season with Detroit.

A.J. Pollock may be the Dodgers’ next free agent target

A.J. Pollock
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Free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock has landed on the Dodgers’ radar, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says the two appear to be in discussions regarding a deal for 2019. Terms of any prospective deal have not been released, but interest is presumed to be fairly high as he checks two boxes on their wish list: that of a right-handed hitter and an experienced centerfielder.

Pollock, 31, rounded out a seven-year career with the Diamondbacks in 2018. While he was sidelined for nearly seven weeks after fracturing his left thumb on a dive gone wrong, he finished the season batting a hearty .257/.316/.484 with a career-best 21 home runs, 13 steals (in 15 chances), and 2.5 fWAR across 460 plate appearances. He received a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the club at the end of the year and elected to enter free agency in hopes of a better deal, which some have estimated at five years and $80 million.

So far, it’s not clear whether teams are willing to meet those terms. Pollock profiles as both a solid hitter and defender, but he hasn’t played a season in full health since 2015, which may be a deal-breaker for those in search of long-term talent. Even with that caveat, however, the Dodgers are far from the only club willing to enter negotiations with the outfielder this winter. The Braves have been linked to Pollock since December, and the Mets and Reds have expressed varying levels of interest as well.