Good news out of the Venezuelan Winter League.
According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, Pablo Sandoval has returned to the starting lineup for Navegantes del Magallanes following a short stay in a local hospital. He was diagnosed with colitis (swelling of the large intestine) but got over the painful symptoms it was causing in just a few days.
Sandoval, a native of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, went 8-for-35 (.229/.325/.343) during the VWL’s regular season. His team is now in the playoffs.
The 26-year-old third baseman batted .283/.342/.447 with 12 home runs, 25 doubles and 63 RBI in 442 plate appearances last year for the World Series-champion Giants. “Kung Fu Panda” owns a solid .303/.353/.490 career batting line in the major leagues.
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.
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.