ATLANTA -- Nationals manager Matt Williams has a lot of confidence in reliever Aaron Barrett.
In the Nats' 7-1 victory over the Marlins on Thursday, Barrett replaced lefty Jerry Blevins in the eighth inning and faced the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton, who represented the tying run. It took six pitches before Stanton struck out on a devastating slider to end the inning.
"It's given me a little bit of confidence that [Williams] is putting me in those types of situations," Barrett said.
Williams is not surprised that Barrett has been successful in the big leagues. After all, Barrett played for Williams in the Arizona Fall League two years ago.
"For me, regardless of the results, [Barrett] doesn't necessarily see the third deck. It doesn't matter to him," Williams said of pitching in the Majors. "What matters to him is that he is throwing the ball where he wants to in the strike zone, and out of the strike zone when he wants to. So, in that regard, he has really been impressive. He doesn't seem to be affected by the whole thing. He wants the ball a lot. So we have to put him in situations where that is going to happen sometimes. He is ready for it, which is good."
Barrett still can't believe he is in the big leagues. As he put it, life has been a whirlwind since Williams told him at the end of Spring Training that he was on the 25-man roster. When the season started, it wasn't known what Barrett's role would be, but for more than a week, Williams has used him in the late innings.
"Whatever the role is, whether it's a close game or the latter innings when we are down, my job is to go out there and get guys out. That's all I can do," Barrett said.
Fister delivers promising signs in 'pen session
ATLANTA -- Nationals right-hander Doug Fister threw a bullpen session Friday afternoon, his first since an injured lat put him on the disabled list to start the season. Fister threw 35 pitches, which were mostly fastballs and changeups.
Manager Matt Williams was impressed by what he saw from Fister.
"He threw it where he wanted it. He had good life. He felt good after [the session]," Williams said. "We'll progress from there. It's really an encouraging sign."
Fister is expected to have another session on Sunday and will likely throw 50 pitches. He will throw in a simulated game soon thereafter and then start a rehab assignment. Fister is not expected to pitch in a big league game until sometime in May.
Williams mystified that Drew hasn't found team
ATLANTA -- Nationals manager Matt Williams has watched free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew play ever since Drew entered the league in 2006 with the D-backs. On Friday, Williams said he was shocked that Drew hasn't found a job.
Williams thought once Jose Iglesias went down with a leg injury, the Tigers would sign Drew, but that never happened. Instead, the Tigers traded for shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
"That one is tough for me to understand, especially given he is coming off a World Series championship [with the Red Sox] and what he did to help that club," Williams said. "I don't know the answer. The fact that he is not playing right now is interesting."
After last season, Drew filed for free agency and turned down Boston's qualifying offer. Whoever signs Drew will have to surrender a Draft pick.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.