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.

Texas Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister

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The Texas Rangers just announced that they have fired Jeff Banister as the team’s manager. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season.

Banister was in the last year of his contract with the club, but there was an option for 2019. Rangers brass, obviously, has decided to go in a different direction following what will be the club’s worst finish in Banister’s tenure. At the moment the Rangers are 64-88 and are assured of last place in the AL West.

Banister was hired before the 2015 season and led the Rangers to first place finishes in each of his first two seasons. The club fell to a disappointing third place and a 78-84 record last season, however, and this season the descent has continued. Injuries and under achievement has been the order of the day for the past two years and, with the career of Adrian Beltre nearing its end and the Rangers having been passed up by the Astros as the class of the division, a rebuild is in the club’s future.

Banister ends his reign as the Rangers’ skipper with a record of 325-313.