Angels general manager shoots down rumored interest in Holliday

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General manager Tony Reagins has shot down a FOXSports.com report claiming that the Angels are among three AL teams seriously pursuing free agent Matt Holliday, saying: “He’s a talented player, but our focus is not on him right now.”
The assumption, of course, is that Reagins’ focus is on re-signing John Lackey and/or Chone Figgins after already locking up fellow free agent Bobby Abreu to a multi-year deal. “I know where both of them stand, but as free-agent players they have earned the right to see what their value is,” Reagins said.
Interestingly, the FOXSports.com report that Reagins responded to was the same Jon Paul Morosi article that I made note of yesterday. My attention stemmed from Morosi reporting that “the Yankees, who need a left fielder, are interested” in Holliday, which completely contradicted a report by Buster Olney of ESPN.com claiming that the Yankees “are not interested in signing Holliday” because “corner outfield is not a priority for them.”
Morosi suggested that Holliday was unlikely to re-sign with the Cardinals and would instead end up in the AL. He mentioned three AL teams as being heavily in the mix, but Olney disagreed with the Yankees’ inclusion on that list and the Angels’ general manager himself issued a denial about their interest. That leaves the Red Sox, which either means that Boston is now the most likely AL destination for Holliday or Morosi was just throwing a bunch of stuff out there to see what would stick.

Corey Knebel sets modern record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout

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Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.

Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.

Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.