Nationals

Ross hits IL with elbow inflammation, eyes return after AS break

Nationals
Joe Ross

The Nationals placed starting pitcher Joe Ross on the 10-Day Injured List with right elbow inflammation Thursday, forcing him to finish the first half on a sour note after he struck out 11 Dodgers on Sunday.

Ross threw a bullpen session Wednesday and didn’t feel right. He underwent an MRI that revealed the inflammation, so the Nationals shut him down with the hope of getting him back after the All-Star Break next week. Washington manager Davey Martinez said the doctor who examined Ross “wasn’t very concerned about it” and he just wanted to be careful with the right-hander, who opted out last season.

“He felt a little tight in his forearm,” Martinez said on a Zoom call Thursday. “He has a little inflammation in his right forearm so, as we’ve talked before with him, not pitching all of last year, we just want to be very cautious and keep an eye on this thing. We put him on the IL to get some of the swelling down and hopefully it’s just one start that he misses.”

On Sunday, Ross finished one strikeout short of his career high, allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and one hit batter in six and two-thirds innings. The 28-year-old has been one of the Nationals’ best pitchers since the start of June; he’s tossed a quality start in five of his six appearances over that span with a 2.31 ERA.

Ross hits the IL just two days after fellow starter Erick Fedde returned from his own stint. The Nationals’ rotation has already been without Stephen Strasburg for most of this season and it lost Max Scherzer and Jon Lester at different points as well. With only four games remaining before the All-Star Break, the Nationals will turn to Scherzer, Paolo Espino, TBA (Lester, if all goes well) and Fedde to close out the first half.