Derrek Lee rejected a trade to the Angels

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Earlier this afternoon Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reported that Derrek Lee would block any potential move by exercising the no-trade clause in his contract and now MLB.com has further details that he actually did reject a trade to the Angels.
Asked to comment on the report, Lee said: “There may be a time when I’m ready to talk about it, but not now.”
Lee has posted an OPS above .800 in 10 straight seasons, but the impending free agent in the final season of a five-year, $65 million deal is currently hitting just .248/.333/.387 in 97 games for a .720 OPS. He’s hit much better recently, going 26-for-82 (.317) with nine extra-base hits in the past 19 games.
Lee will no doubt be criticized for not accepting a trade to a “contender” but it’s worth noting that the Angels are nearly as far out of a playoff spot (8.5 games) as the Cubs (9.5 games) right now.

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.