Link-O-Rama: Chapman, Byrnes, Pena, Pujols, Mauer

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* Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman had what agent Edwin Mejia described as “a very good visit” with the Red Sox yesterday at Fenway Park. In addition to the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of the Boston Herald lists the Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Cardinals, and Mariners as having interest in the 21-year-old free agent. Earlier this offseason Boston signed shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was teammates with Chapman in Cuba.
* Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes that the Diamondbacks may be ready to part ways with Eric Byrnes two years and $19 million after handing him a misguided contract extension. Byrnes is still owed $11 million in 2010, but has gone from productive fan favorite to oft-injured whipping boy.
* Kansas City is interested in keeping Tony Pena Jr., but only if he’s willing to continue his mid-career switch to pitching. Originally a slick-fielding shortstop who was one of the worst hitters in baseball, Pena posted a 2.33 ERA and 18/6 K/BB ratio in 19 minor-league innings after moving to the mound in July.
* Today the MLB Players Association named Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer as players of the year in their respective leagues. Hopefully the Baseball Writers Association of America will follow suit when the “real” awards are announced next month.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.