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Washington Nationals vs New York Mets vs Houston Astros: Grapefruit League GameThread...

On their last day in Florida, the Nationals take on the Mets (at 12:05 PM EDT on MLBN; MLB dot tv) and the Astros (at 1:05 on radio only via MLB’s At Bat app) in Grapefruit League action...

Minor League Baseball: Bradenton Marauders at Port St. Lucie Mets Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Talking to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last September, Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo explained that they were going to handle 25-year-old right-hander Joe Ross like they have the other starters in the organization who’ve undergone Tommy John surgery.

Ross underwent the procedure in mid-July of 2017, and returned to the mound last summer, making six starts across four levels of the minor league system and three in the majors, with a 5.06 ERA, 5.85 FIP, four walks (2.25 BB/9), and seven strikeouts (3.94 K/9) in 16 innings on the mound for the Nationals.

“We’re going to have to control his innings,” Rizzo explained when asked about the plan for Ross in 2019.

“He’ll be in Year 1 post Tommy John protocol as we have here with the Nationals, but we’re looking for big things from Joe and hopefully we can manage those innings correctly and he can really be a factor for us.”

Ross made six appearances, one as a starter, giving up 12 hits, three walks, and four runs, three earned, in 10 23 IP, over which he struck out 10, before he was optioned to Triple-A Fresno yesterday.

Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters recently, as quoted by Washington Post writer Jess Dougherty, that they were at least considering using Ross out of the bullpen, though he said he still thought of the pitcher as a starter.

“We are still thinking about that. And we are also thinking about Joe, what’s best for him. It’s hard [to say] because of his injury, but I still really believe he can start. I really do. It’d be nice if we could get him a little bit stretched out right now and see where we are at.”

Martinez said the same after Ross was optioned out on Saturday:

Ross will make one more start in Grapefruit League action this afternoon as the Nats play the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie’s First Data Field in a game that’s being broadcast live on the MLB Network (and MLB dot TV).

Meanwhile, in West Palm Beach, FL, Patrick Corbin and another squad of Nationals will be at home taking on the Houston Astros one more time at 1:05 PM EDT (in a game that’s only on the radio — via MLB’s At Bat app).