Taking a stroll through (mostly) the Post's ST blog here's the Fister timeline
2/22 : Fister pitches BP. Is "nasty".
2/24 : Practices hitting
3/02 : Starts vs Marlins , is "erratic" in two innings of work, "felt 50/50", has discomfort after game
3/06 : Recieves MRI, shows "a little inflammation" and "no structural damage", will rest Williams says team not worried - if in season he'd go.
3/07 : Misses next start due to "elbow inflammation, no timetable for return other than "few days rest"
3/09 : Team states inflammation is on the way out.
3/10 : Team schedules a "catch" for Fister for Tuesday the 11th.
3/11 : Fister plays catch. Feels fine. Will stretch out from a further distance on Thursday the 13th. First mention of regular season start being affected, when they say plan is he'll be ready for his first turn. Fister says he'll be ready.
3/13 : Fister throws from distance on flat ground. Feels tight.
Elbow inflammation after your first real "competitive" experience is scary. They want to give him rest to heal him up. That makes sense. But prior to that first game he had months of rest. Is a week really going to help? Maybe it will, actually. He probably wasn't icing and medicating over the offseason so the full frontal assault on the inflammation may keep it at bay. It doesn't look promising. He's missed two starts now. He felt tight after just an extended catch session. Signs point to an actual problem.
This wasn't an issue last year from what I can tell. No news, no decrease in velocity over last season.
Some elbow inflammations from Spring 2013 (no structural damage) for comparison.
- Zack Greinke missed a couple starts, had no discomfort on return, pushed him back for regular season start but otherwise fine. Though he did get an extra month "off" after first two starts, thanks to a broken collarbone.
- Matt Thornton was diagnosed real early (mid Feb), no issues on return, was pitching by end of that month.
- Jenrry Mejia ended up needing no surgery but had a very lengthy rehab stint. Didn't start in majors until late July. He had had previous surgery on his elbow a few years prior.
- Frank Francisco was initially diagnosed with no structural damage. That became a flexor strain which became a flexor tear which kept him out until September. He had had elbow surgery just that previous December.
- Scott Baker also had a long rehab not pitching until September. He was coming back from TJ surgery.
This isn't exactly telling us much is it? Everyone stay glued to Fister's bullpen session. If it goes well (assuming it goes at all) I wouldn't worry too much. He might miss his first start just because the timing is bad but inflammation does happen. If it doesn't go well, I'd start preparing for a lengthy rehab.
Side note : Let's remember to thank your local beat reporter. Kilgore, Wagner, Zuckerman. It's because of the yeoman's work they put in day to day that we have these things to talk about around the Keurig.