NEW YORK -- What looked like a lengthy absence for Tigers starter Doug Fister might be ending shortly. In fact, if his rehab start for Triple-A Toledo goes well next week, it might not be long at all.
"It looks like, if everything goes right, he should be back real soon," manager Jim Leyland said Saturday evening.
Fister, who is recovering from a strain in his left side, threw a second bullpen session Saturday afternoon, this one longer than the 50-pitch session he threw on Thursday, and said he felt good. Assuming he still feels that way Sunday morning, he'll go out on a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens, who are at home all next week.
The Tigers aren't saying what will happen after that, whether his rehab would be only one start. Still, the difference in tone was noticeable. What had been cautious words from Leyland and Fister about a timetable now sounds like a path with the end in sight.
"I'm trying to not overdo it, but I feel really good," Fister said. "I feel very strong. I'm trying to take it slow, but at the same time, it feels very good, and I'm just trying to work my way into it."