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Nats to keep rotation steady until Fister returns

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HOUSTON -- Washington manager Matt Williams said the team is targeting May 7 as the date for Doug Fister's return start, and he hopes to keep the Nationals' rotation "steady" in the next 10 days.

The Nationals have two off-days this week, so Williams said they might be able to get away with a four-man rotation until next Wednesay, when Fister could theoretically be available.

The Nationals sent down Taylor Jordan to Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday and called up Ryan Mattheus, leaving Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Tanner Roark as the only full-time starters left on the 25-man roster for the time being.

"With the off-days, we have a chance with Doug coming back to insert him into the rotation," Williams said. "Given that likelihood, we felt it important to add an extra bullpen guy, and work out that rotation as we go."

Fister suffered a lat strain late in Spring Training and has been on the disabled list all season. While Williams said he hopes to keep the same order in the rotation, that's contingent on Fister feeling healthy in his final rehab start on Friday.

"Obviously, we need to see how [Doug] does in his last rehab start, and have him feel good about it for this timetable to stick," Williams said. "If that happens, we're looking at [May] 7th, maybe the 8th. He's close."

Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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