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Johnny Cueto could pitch for Dominican Republic in WBC finals

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Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto was late to arrive to spring training due to visa issues that came about trying to travel with his ill father. As a result, he did not pitch for the Dominican Republic in the first or second rounds of the World Baseball Classic.

If the D.R. is able to advance to the finals, however, Cueto might be able to pitch for the team, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Cueto said, “If the third round comes around and they need me, then I will cross that bridge when we come to it.” Cueto also apologized for not being able to contribute in the first and second rounds, saying, “I’m sorry. I would like to represent my country. I hope they understand why.”

Cueto made his Cactus League debut on Saturday, pitching two innings in a split-squad game against the Reds. He’s entering the second year of a six-year, $130 million contract signed with the Giants in December 2015. He finished the past season with an 18-5 record, a 2.79 ERA, and a 198/45 K/BB ratio over 219 2/3 innings.

The Dominican Republic lost its opening game of the second round to Puerto Rico 3-1 on Tuesday. It will face Venezuela next on Thursday night and wrap up the group in a game against the United States on Saturday.

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.