The Washington Nationals have had a whirlwind summer, to say the least. Another blow came to the bullpen on Sunday as manager Davey Martinez announced that an MRI on starting pitcher Joe Ross revealed partial tear of the UCL in his right (throwing) arm.
“I talked to Joe this morning for quite a while. He’s down. We’re all down,” Martinez said to the media on Sunday before Washington's game vs. the Atlanta Braves. “The biggest thing for him to do now, and for all of us to do, is to stay positive for him.”
Ross first reported arm tightness after a bullpen session on Saturday. He will have further examinations which potentially could result in the righty needing to undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. If that is the case, he would likely be out until the 2023 MLB season. He first had Tommy John surgery in July 2017, which kept him out for 14 months.
Most professional pitchers are able to rebound quite well after one Tommy John surgery, though that number drops considerably once a pitcher has to undergo that operation twice in a career.
Per MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, “Ross was having a wildly erratic season that at times saw him dominate while at other times get hit hard by opponents. In six of his starts, he pitched at least five innings and did not allow an earned run, a total surpassed throughout the majors by only Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Walker Buehler. But he also gave up five or more runs in five starts, and that left his season ERA at a pedestrian 4.17.”
Washington’s pitching rotation was scarce following a barrage of injuries to their usual starters, in addition to trades. Max Scherzer was sent to the Dodgers, Jon Lester to the Cardinals, and Daniel Hudson to the Padres at this year’s trade deadline. Stephen Strasburg will miss the remainder of this season after undergoing neck surgery last month.
Martinez hopes that Ross will be able to stay confident during this time of uncertainty.
“By the conversations that we had with Joe, and we always have with Joe, he felt good. He had little issues where we shut him down right away, and he came back and he said he felt great," Martinez said. "Now we’re at the point now where we did everything we can to keep him healthy. But for me, you can’t ever predict injuries. They just happen. But I told him: You’re still a big part of this team. We’ll get through this, but you’ve got to stay positive, got to keep your head up.”