Fister in, Lombardozzi out for Nationals
Doug Fister has been traded before, so he wasn’t shocked when he got the call from Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski last night. It also helped that Fister’s new club, the Nationals, boasts one of baseball’s best rotations and has visions of competing deep into October next season.
Here are some highlights from Fister’s conference call with reporters this afternoon…
Q: What was your reaction when you heard about the trade?
“There were some rumors going around that we were both kind of being out there and we were both just gonna see how things played out. Finally last night, the phone call was made and things were working out the way that things had worked out. I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to too many of the guys back in Detroit yet, but I’m definitely excited to be on the hunt for D.C. I’m looking forward to getting out there, getting going in spring training and being ready. I’m excited.”
Q: How excited are you to join this pitching staff?
“Coming from Detroit, obviously we had a great staff. It was such an honor to be a part of the staff that we had there with Scherzer and Verlander and everybody else. But coming in to D.C. now, it’s going to be the same thing with Strasburg and Zimmermann and Gonzalez and Detwiler. All those guys, I’m looking forward to being in there. They’ve all got quite a bit of experience, they’ve all got great stuff and I’ve heard that they’re great teammates. It’s one of those things that I’m definitely looking forward to being a part of and being able to be surrounded by such terrific pitchers.”
Q: Were your immediate emotions sad to leave the Tigers or excited to join the Nationals?
“It’s definitely a surprise when you get the phone call that lets you know you’re being traded. But it’s always, you’re a world of mixed emotions. There’s friendships and brotherhood and everything that I’ll be leaving, but I’m thoroughly excited to be heading to the Nationals. It’s one of those things that I’ve come to realize that I want to know a lot of guys in the league and have some experiences to play in the NL, play in the AL and be able to have those experiences and be able to have the relationships that we have. I’m looking forward to being able to get to know those guys.”
Q: Have you heard from any of your new teammates yet?
“I’ve had a couple welcoming text messages and phone calls from the guys. Ian Desmond was one of the ones this morning. I’ve got LaRoche’s phone number to get a hold of him, too. These guys are definitely welcoming me with open arms. It’s definitely a family atmosphere already. I’m definitely looking forward to meeting these guys in person. I don’t really know too many of them on a very in-depth level. I’m looking forward to that opportunity. There’s some great individuals over there who make up a great team. I’m definitely looking forward to that opportunity.”
Q: How do you anticipate the change of leagues to affect you?
“When I’m up on the mound, I’m going to do the same thing and try to get hitters out. I know that obviously things are a little different having to face pitchers and having to hit ourselves. I’m excited to be able to grab a bat again and work on my swing. I don’t think that that’s going to change anything of my pitching style. I’m still going out there trying to pitch to our defense. Look at the defense that will be playing out there day after day after day. I think we’ve got a couple Gold Glovers and a runner-up. Again, it’s something for me, I’m coming in looking at it as, I’m blessed. I’m blessed to have a team that is on the rise and right where it needs to be. It has a great defense, a great offense. I’d be foolish not to use them. I’m looking forward to having that defense.”
Q: Has it been your goal to increase your groundball rate every year?
“It’s definitely a bullet point in my pitching perspective. I’m going out there trying to induce groundballs, induce bad contact as early in the count as possible. My job is to get through seven innings and keep zeroes on the board for our offense to get out there and swing it. If I can get that done, that’s my main focus. If I can get past that, that’s icing on the cake and I’m excited about it. But it’s one of those things, I want to get groundballs. I want to use our defense, utilize the talent that we have out there. That’s always been one of my main goals. For me, I’d be foolish not to attack that way. My main pitching sequence is a sinker. I try to attack with that.”
Q: Have you made a concerted effort to prevent runners from stealing on you?
“That is definitely a focal point, especially in bullpen sessions and spring training. If I can work on things, work on timing, work on the mixing up of my delivery to where I can make it a second-nature type feeling that I don’t have to think about during the season, that’s my goal. I want to be able to control the running game and help the catcher out as much as possible. Obviously, there’s still fast guys that want to take a chance and obviously there were stolen bases last year, but I want to limit it as much as possible. I want to give our team the best chance to win as possible and that’s one little thing that can turn into a big thing.”