Nationals sign reliever Mike Gonzalez to minor league deal

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Mike Gonzalez’s inability to land a bullpen gig this offseason always seemed weird to me.

Certainly his lengthy injury history played a big part, especially since he underwent knee surgery shortly after last season, but he has a 2.94 career ERA and was effective last year with a 4.39 ERA and 51/21 K/BB ratio in 53 innings for the Orioles and Rangers.

He wasn’t able to find a big-league job but at least Gonzalez has signed somewhere, agreeing to a minor-league contract with the Nationals.

Washington could use the relief depth with closer Drew Storen and fill-in closer Brad Lidge on the disabled list. For now he’ll head to extended spring training and then presumably join the Triple-A bullpen.

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.