Doug Fister to begin minor league rehab assignment Sunday

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The Nationals were largely praised when they acquired right-hander Doug Fister from the Tigers during the offseason, but he has yet to throw a pitch for the club due to a lat strain suffered during spring training. If all goes according to plan, that will change soon.

Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com reports that Fister threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session this afternoon and is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday, likely with High-A Potomac. The plan calls for him to throw about 60 pitches for his first outing before going five innings or 75 pitches five days later. That would set him up to join the Nationals around May 7.

Fister, 30, posted a 3.30 ERA from 2011-2013. Only six pitchers (min. 500 IP) bested his 123 ERA+ during that time.

Robinson Canó benched for lack of hustle

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Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is not in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the division rival Nationals. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, it’s punishment for failing to run hard on a pair of double plays over the weekend against the Marlins.

Manager Mickey Callaway said, “He understands that it’s unacceptable to not run balls out. He understands that he needs to do that at all times.”

Canó first gaffe came in the top of the seventh inning on Friday, with his team trailing 7-3. Facing Adam Conley, Canó hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Canó was only halfway up the first base line when the throw got to first base.

In the fourth inning on Sunday, with the game still scoreless, Canó tapped a Sandy Alcantara pitch in the dirt. Thinking it was foul, Canó didn’t run, but catcher Chad Wallach charged and grabbed the ball while it was still in fair territory. He threw to second base for the force out and then the ball was easily whipped to first base to complete the double play as Canó still thought it was foul.

This likely wouldn’t be as big a deal as it currently is if Canó were actually producing at the plate and if the Mets weren’t in a freefall. Canó has a .245/.293/.374 batting line on the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-25 and riding a five-game losing streak which includes having been shut out in each of their last two games.