Nationals pitching prospect Joe Ross relied mostly on a fastball-slider repertoire in his 13 starts and three relief appearances last season. The 22-year-old has bolstered his repertoire heading into the 2016 season, however, as he’s now trying out a splitter taught to him by teammate Jonathan Papelbon, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Curt Schilling taught Papelbon the splitter when they were teammates on the Red Sox.
Ross pitched in Monday’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Marlins, yielding two runs on four hits and a walk with four hits over 2 2/3 innings. Ross was using the splitter for the first time today, so it’s a work in progress.
Joe, the brother of Padres pitcher Tyson, compiled a 3.64 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 21 walks in 76 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year. He’ll slot into the back of the Nationals’ starting rotation this season.