Nationals righty Joe Ross is slated to undergo Tommy John surgery, manager Dave Martinez informed reporters (including Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post). He recently suffered a setback in his recovery from a UCL tear in his throwing elbow.
It’s the second career TJS for Ross, who also went under the knife in July 2017. The former first-round pick returned from that procedure at the tail end of the following campaign, but he’s unfortunately dealt with subsequent health issues. He stayed healthy in 2019, splitting the season between the big league bullpen and the Triple-A rotation, then opted out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 concerns.
Ross came back last season and tied a career-high with 19 starts, but he was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in his elbow last August. He was understandably reluctant to go back under the knife at the time, and he and the organization proceeded with a non-surgical rehab course. That still cost him the remainder of the season, and he underwent a cleanup procedure to remove some bone spurs from his elbow this spring. After opening the year on the 60-day injured list, Ross headed out on a minor league rehab assignment last week.
Unfortunately, he completed just three innings before dealing with renewed elbow tightness. A subsequent MRI revealed more ligament damage than initially expected, and Ross will no longer be able to avoid another Tommy John procedure. Martinez didn’t specify a timeline on his recovery, but given Ross’ prior injury history, he may be in for a lengthier absence than the typical 14-16 month rehab time for a UCL replacement.
The news will obviously end Ross’ 2022 season before it begins, and it’s likely to cost him most or all of 2023 as well. The disappointing series of events means he’ll have gone two-plus calendar years between appearances, aside from last week’s abbreviated rehab start. Last year’s 108 innings pitched marked a personal high, so it’s to be seen what kind of workload he’d be able to assume in 2024.
It’s also not clear for whom he’ll be playing at that point. Ross is in his final season of arbitration control, and he’ll reach free agency for the first time in his career at season’s end. He’s a candidate for a low-salary two-year contract, which would afford him the opportunity to rehab with team supervision and receive some pay next year while the signing club eyes his 2024 production. Ross could also rehab on his own and seek out a free agent deal by conducting a showcase whenever he’s healthy enough to again throw.
In the interim, Ross will spend this season on Washington’s 60-day IL. He’ll collect a $2.4MM salary, to which he and the club agreed over the winter to avoid an arbitration hearing. The Nationals will be without one of their most productive starters for the entire season, and the retooling club loses a potential midseason trade possibility. As an impending free agent on a last place team, Ross would’ve been a viable trade target for contenders in search of rotation depth were he healthy.
At this point you just have to face the fact that it wasn’t meant to be for Joe. One thing after another for years now. Good luck in 2024. Some team will take a flyer.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Betsy, this sadly will not happen, sew 1 less star
Sadly I think this guy is done…
He’ll only be 30 or 31 by the time he heals from this next procedure so someone will definitely take a chance on him. Unfortunate circumstances for Ross; he did show his first round pedigree from time to time on the mound.
Still a all time heist to have gotten him and Trea turner for Steven souza an jack bauer ( I know really Jake bauers) Often see padres to be made fools in a trade but a rare case of the rays getting taken to the cleaners as well
Glad Preller traded him considering he is injury prone. Turner, that was a bad idea trading him
I loved this guy when the Nats got him. 1st rounder, decent minor league stats, younger brother to Tyson Ross, good age. Even after all these setbacks, he still has a career 4.26.
Travis Ott was the other player the Nats gave up in that trade. Jake Bauers was from SD.
Still don’t know what the Rays were thinking allowing the Nats to get involved in that trade.
I saw Ross as a potential trade chip. Sad news.
I also think he’s done. I think the turning point for him was opting out. I think his injury was due to his not having pitched in 2020.
Nats can’t buy a break.
‘He stayed healthy in 2019, splitting the season between the big league bullpen and the Triple-A rotation….”
Ross made his way into the Nats starting rotation in 2019 down the stretch as well, He did better as a starter than as a reliever and those appearances helped get them in the playoffs, Then Ross subbed for Scherzer in Game 5 of the World Series. I’ll never forget the rousing ovation we gave him before the game as he was just crossing the field. He probably won’t either.