This Weekend to Determine Return of Joe Ross to Nationals’ Rotation

WASHINGTON — Nationals starter Joe Ross is expected to continue his rehab assignment as he works his way back from the disabled list.

Ross last threw for the Nationals on July 2, to the effect of four runs allowed over 5.1 innings, after which he was placed on the DL.

Ross pitched three scoreless innings for Class-A Hagerstown last Sunday, the first start of his rehab assignment, and has thrown simulated innings while traveling with the Nationals this week.

He’s been battling shoulder inflammation and, according to MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, has utilized rehab time to work on mechanical tweaks which may have caused the shoulder soreness.

“Not huge things,” Ross said, according to Zuckerman. “More just trying to focus on giving my arm time to get in the right slot. I feel like I tend to be a little late sometimes, which probably is why my shoulder was bothering me in the first place.”

This week, Ross will make at least one more rehab start, Nats GM Mike Rizzo says, before possibly rejoining his big league club.

The status of Ross came up as part of the Burke & Herbert Bank ‘Fan Question of the Week’ during Rizzo’s weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance with The Sports Junkies on Wednesday.

When can we expect Joe Ross to return to the Nats’ rotation? — Henry in Herndon

“Joe is going to have his second rehab start this coming week and then we will evaluate him for a return to the big leagues,” Rizzo said. “We’ll see after he pitches this weekend.”

Ross has been one of the more steady arms in Washington’s rotation. With a 7-4 record and 3.49 ERA after 16 starts, Ross figures to be a key ingredient to his club’s pursuit of another division title.

Washington, as of this writing, holds a 5.5-game lead over the second-place Marlins, and a 7-game lead over the third-place Mets, with 60 games to play before postseason begins.

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter.

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