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Washington Nationals’ Joe Ross has setback, tightness in right elbow ends rehab start ...

It’s been a tough couple years for Joe Ross as he’s tried to avoid a second Tommy John surgery...

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo had mostly positive things to say about the rehab starts Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross made on Tuesday, at Double-A Harrisburg and at High-A Fredericksburg, respectively, telling 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies things went well for both starters when he spoke on Wednesday morning.

“It’s a good step forward for [Strasburg] and Joe Ross,” Rizzo told the Junkies.

“[Strasburg] was up to 94, I believe, and Ross touched 95, but pitching at 92-93, and again, a step in the right direction,” he added.

The next step, for both Strasburg, recovering after surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and Ross, who was shut down late last season with a partial tear of the UCL and then had his spring derailed by surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, Rizzo said, was to see how they felt after the outings and then prepare for more if they were good.

“As long as both of them walk into the clubhouse today and feel good about things and can move on to the next stage in their rehab it will be great.

“Another rehab start is in the offing, and they’re going to be on their typical five-day pitching routines.

“And when I say that these things go day-to-day, they go day-to-day. These guys, they’ll walk in today, and see how they feel and if they feel normal, normal soreness and normal aches and pains, then we’re all good and we move on to prepare for the next start five days from now.”

Strasburg went 2 23 innings on 61 pitches in his return to live game action, and Ross threw 3.0 scoreless on 31 pitches, working around two hits and striking out four.

But by the time Davey Martinez spoke with reporters in advance of the series finale with the Los Angeles Dodgers in D.C. on Wednesday afternoon, the club was telling a different story.

Ross was removed after three innings because he felt something in his elbow again.

“Joe had to get pulled out of the game. Felt a little tightness in his right elbow,” Martinez explained. “So he finished three innings and then couldn’t go out for the fourth. So he is getting an MRI, we don’t have any results yet. We’ll know hopefully something by this afternoon. Stephen, completed his 60 pitches, 2 23 , the good news is he felt good. He’s sore today, but it’s typical soreness, but he’ll get ready to throw again in five days.”

Ross, however, is waiting on the results of the MRI before the 29-year-old pitcher, who had Tommy John surgery back in 2017, knows what the next step in this process will be.

“It’s concerning, because it’s his elbow again, but I don’t want to jump to any conclusions until we get the MRI back,” Martinez said.

Ross, as should be expected, was less than thrilled with the news.

“He’s a bit concerned, and a little bit upset, because he felt so good. He threw the first two innings, he was throwing 95, said the ball was really coming out, and then he said the third inning it wasn’t so much, but he finished the inning and then after the inning he said he felt really sore. So, like I said, we’re going to get him checked out.”

Martinez said there were signs on the mound which hinted all was not right, but it was the first time in the rehab process there was an issue with the elbow.

“I think they saw his velo drop a little bit,” the manager said, “and I think he might have said something to them. I don’t know the whole story about it, but what we do know is he was sore. He came back here last night, and then the doctor looked at him and then they want to get an MRI to see what’s going on.”