Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross returned from the disabled list Sunday afternoon in Atlanta. After a solid three innings, he is ready.
In early July, Joe Ross was placed on the disabled list with shoulder soreness and inflammation. What seemed to be a minor injury at the time, ended up keeping Ross out for more than two months, and really tested the Nationals starting pitching depth.
Ross was pitching very well for the Nats before the injury and, if he could get back to where he was, he could be a very valuable asset in the playoffs.
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Ross was scheduled to only go three innings on Sunday afternoon, and he looked good in his short time. In the first inning Ross struck out two Atlanta Braves–Adonis Garcia and Freddie Freeman–and his fastball velocity and command looked great.
In the bottom of the third, Ross faced adversity and worked his way out of it. Three straight singles to begin the inning had the bases loaded with nobody out for the Braves. After a visit by Mike Maddux, Ross was able to retire the next three batters without allowing a run to score, ending his return on a very high note.
Although Ross did give up a decent amount of hits, six in three innings, he showed good strikeout stuff and his fastball velocity looked very good. Ross finished with a line of three innings, six hits, one run, and five strikeouts.
With the injury to Stephen Strasburg, and his availability for the playoffs in question, Ross could be a very valuable weapon in the postseason for the Nats. If Strasburg is unable to pitch, the Nats will need four starters and, if healthy, Ross would probably be the Nationals best option.
Understandably, it will be tough for Ross to get a lot of work with only 13 games remaining in the season. But, if the Nationals are able to wrap up the division in the next week, they may be able to get Ross 1-2 more appearances before they enter the playoffs.
With the struggles of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Yusmeiro Petit, the Nationals will also need a long man out of the bullpen in the playoffs. If Ross is still not ready to start and pitch deep into a game, he could serve as a long man if needed in the postseason.
Whatever way the Nationals decide to use him, if healthy, Joe Ross very well could be an X-Factor for the Nationals in their playoff run this season.