[Updated 5:49 p.m.]
The Nationals called up rookie right-hander Joe Ross to start against the New York Mets on Tuesday night and sent infielder Wilmer Difo down to Double-A Harrisburg as the corresponding move.
Ross, 22, joins the Nationals for the second time this season. He made his MLB debut on June 6 against the Chicago Cubs and is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in three big league starts.
Since leaving the Nats, Ross thrived at Triple-A Syracuse with a 3-1 record and 2.19 ERA in five appearances. He was also excellent at Double-A Harrisburg before getting his first call-up, holding a 2.81 ERA across eight starts.
“The reports [from Syracuse] were good. Focused, pounded the strike zone like he did when he was here," Williams said. "Limited innings. The concern for Joe anyway is last year he was 120 innings. Starting the whole season, that inning-count can get up there pretty quickly. They were limiting his amount of innings down there from time to time. He pitched well. I know he's eager to get back and get it going here."
Ross will pitch against the Mets on Tuesday night opposite Jacob deGrom, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. Williams said the plan is to keep Ross in the rotation pitching every fifth day until Stephen Strasburg returns from the disabled list.
Difo, 23, is 1-for-8 (.125) in the majors this season after making his debut on May 19. The versatile switch-hitter is batting .296 with three homers, 32 RBI and 14 steals in 63 minor league games this season spread across Single- and Double-A.