The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Joe Ross from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday and optioned infielder Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg. Ross will start for the Nationals against the Mets on Tuesday night. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Ross, 22, returns to the Nationals for his second Major League stint of the season. The Nationals selected Ross' contract from Double-A on June 6 and the rookie right-hander dazzled in three starts for Washington, going 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA. The first Major League assignment of Ross' career included eight innings of two-run baseball over the Milwaukee Brewers on June 13 and one run over 7.1 IP in his next start, June 19 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ross, who has posted a 2.6 walks/9.0 IP mark over the course of his Minor League career, faced 51 Major League batters before he issued his first walk, a new Nationals (2005-present) record.
Since returning to the Minor Leagues, Ross has worked to a 3-1 record with a 2.19 ERA over five starts in his first experience at the Triple-A level. With Syracuse, Ross has never allowed more than three earned runs in a start.
Ross was acquired, along with infielder Trea Turner, from the San Diego Padres in a three-team trade that sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Minor League left-handed pitcher Travis Ott to the Tampa Bay Rays on December 18, 2014. He was originally selected by the Padres in the first round (No. 25 overall) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Difo, 23, is 1-for-8 (.125) in the Major Leagues this season. The Nationals' No. 8 prospect, per Baseball America's mid-season rankings, is hitting .296 with a .343 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage in 63 Minor League games this season across High Single-A and Double-A.