Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez talked in the past few days about possibly bringing Joe Ross back up to the majors, though he didn’t officially announce that the 26-year-old right-hander will be the starter for Sunday’s series finale with the Atlanta Braves.
Ross worked out of the Nats’ bullpen as they tried to sort things out with the relief corps earlier this season, but he was optioned to Triple-A Fresno in late May with a plan to get stretched out since the team still views him as a starter in the long term.
In 16 appearances as a reliever in the majors, Ross put up a 9.22 ERA, eight walks, 12 Ks, and a .298/.420/.509 line against in 13 2⁄3 IP.
In four starts for the Nationals’ top minor league affiliate, the righty put up a 2.65 ERA, three walks, 10 Ks, and a .267 BAA in 17 IP.
“His slider was very effective. Up to that point, his slider was not what they had hoped it to be. There he had a really good slider, his command was good. That’s definitely encouraging.
“We want him to start. We want him to gradually extend his innings and get his pitch count up and have him become a starter.”
Talking to reporters this afternoon, Martinez hinted that Ross would return while declining to officially name him as Sunday’s starter:
Nothing official, but Davey Martinez strongly hinted Joe Ross is on his way from Fresno to D.C. to start Sunday.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) June 21, 2019
Joe Ross is heading toward DC and is presumably going to start Sunday, though Dave Martinez said that is still TBA.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) June 21, 2019
Martinez on Ross’s current whereabouts: “There’s no telling where he is.”
This afternoon, the Nationals made it official, well, the part about Ross being back in D.C. at least.
Ross was recalled from Triple-A, with Adrián Sanchez optioned to Double-A Harrisburg to make room on the big league roster.
Why call Ross up now? Is he going to be in the bullpen to help out the beleaguered relief corps after a doubleheader on Wednesday and long night after Erick Fedde struggled?
Will he be the starter for the third of three with the Braves in D.C. on Sunday?
Since Martinez already held his pregame press conference, we’ll have to wait until after the game to get more information...