Cody Asche leaves spring training game with a hand injury

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Phillies third baseman Cody Asche was hit in the right hand with a fastball from Pirates pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang in the bottom of the fifth inning this afternoon. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer described the uncomfortable sound as “that of a ball hitting helmet”. Asche was taken out of the game under his own power and replaced by prospect Maikel Franco. He will undergo evaluations and we should hear the results tomorrow, if not later today.

[Update: Preliminary results on Asche’s ultrasound came up negative, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.]

Although Franco is a third baseman and the Phillies’ best prospect according to most, the Phillies can’t be happy with what they saw. Franco is still rough around the edges and would benefit from starting the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Asche is no superstar, but is a dependable stopgap who provided decent production at the hot corner last season.

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.