Nationals’ Doug Fister: ‘I still think I have a starting role somewhere’

Doug Fister heads into free agency having pitched as a reliever to close out the season for the Nationals.
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As he surveys what might be ahead in free agency this coming offseason, Doug Fister is confident that he can find his way into a starting rotation again after being converted into a reliever by the Washington Nationals.

Fister, who had never been a full-time reliever in his seven years in the majors, was sent to the bullpen by the Nats in August after posting a 4-7 record with a 4.60 ERA and a .302 opponent batting average in his first 15 starts of the season.

While he performed well in the bullpen, posting a 2.12 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 17 innings and even recording his first major-league save, Fister doesn’t consider himself a reliever.

"I don’t feel like right now in my career I’m forced to be a bullpen member for the rest of my career. I still think I have a starting role somewhere, whether it’s here or somewhere else. I still have that capability," the 31-year-old righty said, per the Washington Post. "That’s still in my heart that I can go out there and get guys out. But I know now I can adjust, I can be a member of the bullpen and be ready to pitch on a day-to-day basis."

Fister is unsure where he’s headed after his one-year, $11.4-million contract expires when the season ends, but he’s optimistic it will be to a team that plans to use him in a starting capacity.

"I’d like to think [there will be an opportunity to start]," he said. "I try to take the standpoint of this is the uniform, this is my job at hand. But at some point I hope to have the opportunity to start again and I do think I have the ability to continue in that role. So, when that market hits, when the time comes, I think the opportunity will be there."