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03/29/2014 7:44 PM EDT
Fister on DL; Tigers-Nationals game rained out

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stephen Strasburg and Taylor Jordan were
selected by the Washington Nationals in the 2009 amateur draft.
While Strasburg was the first name off the board, Jordan was the
first player picked eight rounds later.

When they met for the first time that summer, during fielding
drills, Jordan wasn't awed by Strasburg's reputation.

"He comes up to me, `I thought you were left-handed,"' Strasburg
said. "He's an interesting guy."

Jordan learned Saturday that he will open the season with
Strasburg in Washington's starting rotation. Jordan replaces
injured Doug Fister, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a
strained muscle on the right side of his upper back. The move is
retroactive to March 23.

The Nationals made the announcement in finalizing their opening
day roster after their scheduled exhibition game against the
Detroit Tigers was canceled because of rain.

Also in the rotation is right-hander Tanner Roark, who will
start the home opener Friday against the Atlanta Braves.

"It's definitely a huge opportunity," Roark said. "I'm going to
do what I can and go out there, get outs, put up zeros and
attack hitters."

Jordan is set to start April 6 against the Braves.

Jordan and Roark are the surprise additions to the rotation for
the Nationals, who entered the spring expecting Fister and Ross
Detwiler to fill the back end behind Strasburg, Jordan
Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez. Detwiler is healthy, but will begin
the season in the bullpen.

"I think they proved themselves in the spring," manager Matt
Williams said. "They really pitched well. We created this
competition between the two of them and they both responded.
Those are very good signs."

Injuries forced the 25-year-old Jordan and 27-year-old Roark
into the rotation as rookies last summer. Despite going 1-3 in
nine starts, Jordan showed promise with a 3.66 ERA before he was
shut down in August as a precaution following Tommy John surgery
in 2011.

Roark pitched in relief in August and took a slot in the
rotation in September, finishing 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA.

"Very different how they go about their business," Strasburg
said of the rotation newcomers. "But they're both extremely
talented. I think they both worked really hard to get to this
point. They're both kind of the guys that were the odd man out,
always going up through the minors."

Fister will be shut down for five days before resuming his
rehabilitation. The right-hander, obtained in an offseason trade
with Detroit, is expected to miss anywhere from three weeks to
30 days, Williams said.

"It's whatever we can do to get him back to full strength so
that when he steps on the mound for us, he's ready to go,"
Williams said. "It's a little bit of a moving target."

Fister was hampered by elbow inflammation early in spring
training. Williams said the lat injury was unrelated.

"It's more a precaution than anything," Williams said. "I don't
think it had anything to do with the elbow. Elbow has been fine
thus far since he first had the inflammation. It's just one of
those things."

After a morning of light rain, with heavier rain forecast later
in the afternoon, the game was called at its scheduled 2 p.m.
start time.

It was to be the final exhibition game for both teams. Detroit
begins the season Monday at home against the Kansas City Royals.
Washington travels to New York for its opener Monday against the


The scheduled starting pitchers Saturday were Roark and Anibal

Sanchez, slotted to pitch Thursday against the Royals, will
throw a simulated game Sunday in Detroit, according to Tigers
manager Brad Ausmus. Instead of the 80-85 pitches Sanchez was
set to throw Saturday, he will throw about 50 on Sunday in the
simulated game.

Williams said Roark would throw a "heavy bullpen" on Saturday.


The Tigers announced that outfielder Andy Dirks was put on the
disabled list with a back injury. To take his place, Tyler
Collins was recalled from Double-A Erie. Detroit also announced
that shortstop Jose Iglesias (shin) and pitcher Bruce Rondon
(elbow) have been placed on the 60-day DL.

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