Kevin Youkilis spills the beans on Jacoby Ellsbury

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Jacoby Ellsbury re-joined the team in Toronto last night after spending the past five weeks in Arizona rehabbing his broken ribs. And according to what Kevin Youkilis told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, he and his teammates wonder why he hasn’t been with the team all along.

“I don’t know what’s going on with Jacoby,” he said. “I don’t think
any of us really know.”

Was it strange for Ellsbury to be away from the team that long?

“Don’t go down that road,” Youkilis said. “One thing I can say is
there’s a lot of guys here that are hurt and supporting the team. We
wish Jacoby was here supporting us, too.”

Plenty of players feel the same way. Youkilis is one of the few with
the courage to say it on the record.

That may be the case, but this will only give more credence to the notion that Ellsbury is a wuss. Kevin Youkilis isn’t a doctor — and neither am I, by the way — so I’m not sure whether his criticism is fair. Remember, Ellsbury already came back from the injury once and went back on the disabled list less than a week later.

I’ll concede that his absence is unique for a player without a season-ending injury and I’m certainly not privy to clubhouse chatter, but if Ellsbury went to Arizona with the organization’s blessing, we should probably give them the benefit of the doubt that he was receiving the best care possible down there.

Ellsbury didn’t arrive at Rogers Centre until the start of Friday’s game. I’m guessing there’s a pretty good chance he will be asked about this when he arrives at the ballpark today.

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.