MILWAUKEE -- The question made Padres pitcher Tyson Ross laugh on Monday.
Did he ever think he'd be peppered with so many questions about his hitting?
"Never," he said, smiling.
A strained left shoulder injury that he sustained in April -- while getting a hit off the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, no less -- essentially sidetracked Ross' early season, though he's finally set to jump back into the team's starting rotation.
Ross will be added to the team's 25-man roster before making a start on Tuesday against the Brewers at Miller Park. It will be his first start since April 17.
"It was unfortunate I had an injury early in the season, but I'm excited about getting back in the rotation and starting every fifth day," Ross said.
Ross, who began the season as the team's fifth starter, suffered a subluxation to his left (non-throwing) shoulder swinging a bat against the Dodgers. He missed 14 games while recovering and then rejoined the team as a reliever.
The Padres optioned Ross to Triple-A Tucson on July 9 to build his endurance and pitch count with the intent of sticking him back in the rotation. That opportunity will come Tuesday.
Ross threw 62 and 70 pitches in his two games in Tucson and manager Bud Black feels he can throw in the 90-pitch range at this point.
Ross went as far to retool his swing with hitting coach Phil Plantier to take stress off his shoulder so he doesn't suffer a similar injury.
"His arm is strong ... he feels good," Black said. "The two starts [in Tucson] set him up for this start."
Ross didn't just build his endurance in Tucson; he worked on his changeup to give him a third pitch to add to his fastball and slider. Ross used it a lot, he said, and intends on doing so Tuesday and moving forward.
"I wasn't able to use it much coming out of the bullpen because you don't want to get beat with your third pitch," Ross said. "The first couple I threw in a game [in Tucson] were not that great. But if I threw a bad one, I'd come back and throw another one."
Ross went 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts before he was injured. As a reliever, he went 0-3 with a 3.48 ERA over 19 appearances.