Jose Contreras’ rehab assignment is off to a rough start

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Jose Contreras took a big step in his recovery from elbow surgery yesterday when he appeared in a minor-league game, but his Single-A outing lasted only 11 pitches and was full of control problems.

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Contreras threw four strikes and seven balls, including two wild pitches, and allowed three runs while recording just one out. In other words, he was a mess.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. predictably downplayed the ugly outing, saying:

He’s perfectly fine. He’s going through the process of a rehab. Somebody booted a ground ball behind him that was ruled a hit and his location wasn’t great, but he’s perfectly fine physically. He had poor location and got beat up, but that’s why he’s rehabbing.

Fair enough, and certainly Contreras will have plenty of time to get on track before the Phillies consider activating him from the disabled list, but the 40-year-old right-hander also got knocked around for a 19.29 ERA in spring training. Right now he’s a $2.5 million question mark.

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.