Billy Butler: Zack Greinke “didn’t want to be here”

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While Billy Butler told Matthew Leach of MLB.com that he had no ill will towards his former teammate Zack Greinke, he sounded downright relieved that the team wouldn’t have to begin the 2011 season with a distraction.

“There’s no surprise,” Butler said Monday. “This has been a controversy ever since Zack had that article that came out and he was wanting out. Whenever you do something like that, the organization has no choice but to trade you. I’m just happy that its behind us now, because if it would have kept lingering on any longer, I think it would have affected the team.”

“You don’t want somebody to be somewhere they don’t want to. That being said, Zack made it public that he didn’t want to be here anymore. As the Kansas City Royals, you don’t want that around. It’s not good for your team. I hope it works out for Zack in Milwaukee. I think we got some great pieces that came over.”

It’s nice to see Butler, who has essentially inherited the role of “face of the franchise,” come out and talk so bluntly about this issue. While we can debate about whether the Royals got enough in return for Greinke, it was pretty clear from Butler’s comments that, similar to the Johan Santana situation in early 2008, something had to be done before spring training.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.