Doug Fister on track to make Nationals debut May 7

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Doug Fister delivered four scoreless innings in his minor league rehab debut Sunday afternoon with High-A Potomac and Nationals manager Matt Williams acknowledged to reporters Tuesday night that the right-hander is on track to join Washington’s starting rotation after just one more rehab outing.

That sets up Fister’s debut in a Nationals uniform, according to beat writer Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, for May 7 against the Dodgers.

Fister was bothered this spring by right elbow inflammation and then suffered a lat strain a week before Opening Day. The Nationals acquired him via trade this offseason from the Tigers after he posted an impressive 3.67 ERA and 157 strikeouts across 208 2/3 innings in 2013 for Detroit.

Taylor Jordan has already been optioned to Triple-A by the Nationals to open a rotation spot.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?