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Nationals: Joe Ross taken off rehab assignment, not returning from DL...yet

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Dusty Baker explained the Washington Nationals’ decision to take Joe Ross off his rehab assignment but not return him from the DL...

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Before today’s game, the Washington Nationals announced that 23-year-old right-hander Joe Ross had been “returned from his rehab assignment” but was remaining on the disabled list.

Ross landed on the 15-Day DL with right shoulder inflammation after he struggled and had his velocity dip noticeably in a July 2nd start vs the Cincinnati Reds.

He’d made two rehab starts before today’s announcement, throwing 43 pitches in his first rehab start on July 24th, and 67 in his second start on the 30th as he worked to build up to what he would normally throw in a major league outing. Ross gave up nine hits, one walk and three earned runs in 7 ⅔ innings in those outings.

So why was he being taken off the rehab assignment, but not coming off the DL?

Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker explained this afternoon when he spoke to reporters before the start of the Nationals’ three-game set with the San Francisco Giants.

“We’re trying to figure out what to do,” Baker said, “cause sometimes he’s still a little sore, so we’ve just got to figure out exactly what to do.

“I hate ‘I don’t know,’ but I don’t know.”

Asked what, if anything had changed for Ross, Baker said nothing changed, it was just that he continued to have soreness in his shoulder.

“You want to get that soreness out of there, plus they get to start the rehab over again.

“That’s No. 1, because you only get so many rehab days and then you take him off and then you start the ticker all over again in case it takes longer than we had hoped.”

So what were the reports from his rehab starts? Was his velocity still down? Baker was asked what he’s been told?

“They said his velocity was fine,” Baker told reporters. “They said his velocity was back to normal, but again, like I say, I told you before that I’ve got so much to take care of here, it’s not that I don’t care about Joe, because he’s very important, but I’ve got some life to go on with here, so they will alert if something is really wrong with him or not right.”