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Nats' Joe Ross explains setback, hopes to be throwing soon

Nats' Joe Ross explains setback, hopes to be throwing soon

The Nationals returned from their road trip on Friday with some ominous news regarding starting pitcher Joe Ross, that his minor league rehab assignment had been halted due to a setback in his recovery from right shoulder inflammation. Ross felt soreness and it was preventing him from building back his arm strength and his fastball velocity, which was one of the initial red flags that alerted the Nats to his injury before he left for the disabled list.

In Ross' last big league start on July 2 he saw his fastball drop to an average of 91.8 miles per hour and by the end of his 5 1/3 innings he was regularly topping out at 89. That was down from his previous average fastball speed of 93.4 miles per hour. He usually can touch 95 or 96 with consistency.

Ross was closer to that during his rehab outings, but still not where he should be.

"It was back, but I wouldn't say it was back 100 percent. I was probably still low- to mid-90s, just not quite going all the way with it because of the discomfort. That's frustrating because I was working to try to get off the DL," he explained.

Ross, 23, was supposed to make his third rehab start on Thursday before the Nats ended his assignment. He previously threw 67 pitches at Triple-A Syracuse on July 30 and 43 pitches for Single-A Hagerstown on July 24.

Through those outings, Ross just didn't feel right.

"Throwing was uncomfortable. It was kind of like, 'what am I going to do with that?' Hopefully, it will just take a few more days to knock it out. I'll stay on the same physical therapy program and hopefully it will be 100 percent," he said.

Ross hopes to resume throwing in the coming days. He is currently doing exercises to strengthen his shoulder and the areas around it, and seems confident he can return to 100 percent soon.

"The last thing I want to do is throw a few games and then go right back to the DL. Hopefully by giving it a little bit more time I can knock it out. Then when I come back, hopefully I can come back to finish strong the end of the year and not have to worry about my arm is feeling," he said.

Ross is 7-4 with a 3.49 ERA through 16 starts for the Nationals this season.

[RELATED: Back on the DL, Nats' Zimmerman trying to stay patient]


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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. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.