Doug Fister plays catch for first time since lat strain

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Finally a dose of positive news for the Nationals.

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, right-hander Doug Fister played catch Sunday for the first time since suffering a lat strain on March 27.

“No pain,” reported pitching coach Steve McCatty.

Fister is basically starting over after being interrupted in Nationals camp this spring by both the lat strain and elbow inflammation, so he will need at least a month to get himself prepared for major league action. That points to an early-to-mid May return.

The 30-year-old right-hander was traded to the Nationals this winter from the Tigers in exchange for utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handed pitchers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray.

Fister posted a 3.67 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 208 2/3 innings last season for Detroit.