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Joe Ross still far from returning, may pitch out of Nationals' bullpen

Joe Ross still far from returning, may pitch out of Nationals' bullpen

Over three weeks since Joe Ross was pulled from his minor league rehab assignment due to a setback in his recovery from right shoulder soreness, the Nats starter is still slowly making progress towards a return. He played long-toss catch on Monday afternoon at Camden Yards in Baltimore, but has yet to throw a bullpen session and appears nowhere near going back out to pitch in a minor league game.

Ross, in fact, is close to running out of time for a second rehab assignment and the Nats have already spoken to him about potentially coming back to the Nationals as a reliever. He would begin in the bullpen and build his arm strength back that way, instead of going to the minors where their regular season schedules end in a matter of weeks.

"Joe said he's feeling good," manager Dusty Baker said. "But the longer he's out the longer it's going to take him to come back to sharpness. One of the things I was talking to Joe about, 'Hey man, you might have to come back in a reliever role,' ... he's gonna have a problem getting rehab time."

GM Mike Rizzo did not sound concerned when asked about Ross' status. He described Ross as "well underway in his throwing program." 

Ross, though, hasn't pitched since July 30 with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. He hasn't appeared in the majors since July 2 when the Nats realized he was injured. 

Ross' injury rehab was already important for the Nationals, who would like to see their 23-year-old starter back as soon as possible. But now with Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list, they could use Ross more than ever.

Rizzo, though, is not concerned about the state of the Nationals' rotation.

“I like our rotation. I think there are a lot of teams in the majors that would take our rotation. We’ve always prided ourselves on putting a guy on the mound who gives us a chance to win every day, and I think we still have that. It’s a credit to our player development and our scouting that we can bring up the talented, young starting pitchers that we bring up to fill in when something does happen to our pitchers," he said.

Ross has a 3.49 ERA through 16 starts with the Nationals this season. He was placed on the disabled list on July 3.

[RELATED: Nats place Strasburg on DL with elbow injury]


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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.