Ross inching closer to throwing a bullpen

Ross inching closer to throwing a bullpen

SAN DIEGO -- A pitcher named Ross was on the hill at Petco Park Friday night -- but not the guy the Padres had hoped to see.

Opening Day starter Tyson Ross is still on the mend from the right-shoulder inflammation that set him back in April. He could throw his first bullpen session as soon as Sunday. But on Friday, he could only watch as his younger brother, Joe Ross, started against the Padres for the Nationals.

"Obviously I'd love to be out there competing, being in games right now," Ross said. "But thus far I've been doing great, feeling good, getting stronger."

Neither Ross nor the Padres are ready to divulge the exact date of his first bullpen session -- which is the next step in his recovery. Currently, Ross is long-tossing from about 150 feet and hasn't felt any ill effects of the injury.

The Padres have a specific day in mind, but Ross says he's keeping blinders on.

"It's just as the progression unfolds itself," Ross said. "I don't have any timelines, anything like that. It's just one step at a time. Today's an off-day, go again tomorrow."

On multiple occasions, the Padres have said they're planning to take it slow with Ross' pending Minor League rehab stint. Essentially, that rules him out until after the All-Star break.

"Tyson is moving along well," said Padres skipper Andy Green. "And we're optimistic next couple of days he's going to be throwing [a bullpen]."

Ross started for the Padres on Opening Day and allowed seven earned runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Dodgers. He was placed on the DL later that week.

As for Friday's game, Tyson Ross has no split allegiances.

"I'm happy for my brother on the other side, but that doesn't make a difference," Ross said. "Obviously it's cool to see him out there, he's doing great. But we're here every day to try and win ballgames."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.