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Nationals demote Joe Ross to Triple-A

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The Nationals have demoted starter Joe Ross to Triple-A Syracuse, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports. A.J. Cole has been recalled to take the open roster spot, but will need to serve the final three days of a five-day suspension garnered at the end of last season when he threw at Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang.

Ross, 23, struggled in three starts, surrendering 13 runs on 20 hits and four walks with 14 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. Zuckerman says that if Jacob Turner isn’t needed out of the bullpen between now and Saturday, Turner will start on the road on Saturday against the Phillies.

Manager Dusty Baker said that “Joe wasn’t Joe. That was it in a nutshell,” per Zuckerman. Baker stressed to Ross that the team will need him this season.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.