Athletics bring back Jack Cust

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cust posing in dugout.jpgSearching for more production from a designated hitter spot that has combined for just two home runs (tied for lowest in the league) and a .291 on-base percentage (tied for third lowest), the Athletics have called up Jack Cust from Triple-A Sacramento, reports Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com. He’ll be in uniform for Saturday’s game against the Angels.

Cust was designated for assignment by the club after batting .216 with 20 strikeouts over 51 at-bats during spring training. The decision seemed a bit short-sighted at the time, especially considering that the team brought him back on a one-year, $2.65 million contract in January.

Money aside, Cust has amassed a .378 on-base percentage with a .462 slugging percentage over the past
three seasons, numbers that Eric Chavez hasn’t come close to matching (.247/.298/.355 with one home run in 93 at-bats this season).

Cust was batting .273/.444/.436 with four homers and 19 RBI with Triple-A Sacramento, putting up a 33/33 K/BB ratio over 110 at-bats.
  

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.