WASHINGTON — The Nationals have optioned right-handed pitcher Joe Ross to Triple-A Syracuse and recalled right-hander A.J. Cole.
Ross is 1-0 with a 7.47 ERA after three starts and has allowed five earned runs in each of his last two outings, pitching less than five innings in each start. He allowed five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk in his latest outing, a 23-5 Nationals win over the Mets on Sunday.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo addressed Ross’ early-season struggles last week, telling 106.7 The Fan that as a sinker/slider pitcher, Ross — who has given up five home runs this season, two in each of his last two starts — depends on movement on his pitches to be effective. Although, at the time, Rizzo specified there was “nothing to be concerned about” with Ross.
Cole, 25, is 1-1 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts (19 innings pitched) at Syracuse this season. He went 1-2 with a 5.17 ERA in eight Major League starts for the Nationals in 2016.
The Nats will replace Ross in the rotation with 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Jacob Turner, Chelsea Janes reports for The Post, while Cole gives Washington another starter in the event Turner struggles.
Turner allowed three earned runs in six innings in his lone big-league start — in Colorado — this season.