Chipper Jones aims to return from knee surgery next week

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Chipper Jones underwent knee surgery just eight days ago, but the future Hall of Famer told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he hopes to be back in the Braves’ lineup at some point next week.

April 13 has been the targeted return date, which is the Braves’ home opener against the Brewers, but Jones took batting practice yesterday and said afterward that he hopes to make it back “a little sooner than that.”

Jones prefers not to go on a minor-league rehab assignment, but admitted that “the bottom line is I’m going to have to prove to these guys that I can go out swing, run the bases, and go all out on defense.”

Newly acquired Juan Francisco gives the Braves some depth at third base, but Jones remains a key piece of the lineup even at age 40 and posted an OPS above .800 last season for the 17th straight year.

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.