Chien-Ming Wang roughed up in first major league start since 2009

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Chien-Ming Wang made his first major league start since July 4, 2009 last night against the Mets and it should come as no surprise that he was pretty shaky out of the gate.

Wang, who has been rehabbing from shoulder surgery for the past two years, gave up six runs (four earned) over four innings as part of an 8-5 loss. The 31-year-old right-hander allowed the first five batters to reach base in the first inning, leading to four runs, though he did settle down a bit from there. All told, he gave up eight hits (all singles) while striking out two and walking one. He threw 39 out of 61 pitches for strikes and induced eight ground balls.

While the results weren’t all that great, Nationals manager Davey Johnson told the Associated Press that he set his expectations pretty low for his Wang’s return.

“I was actually impressed,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “His delivery looked really easy. He had some good velocity on the ball. I was pleased. I really didn’t think I was going to see that much.”

According to Brooks Baseball, Wang averaged 91.75 mph on his fastball last night and topped out at 92.7 mph. He averaged around 93 mph on his fastball during his most productive year with the Yankees back in 2006.

With a throng of media from his native Taiwan tracking his every move, Wang told reporters that he was just happy to get back on a major league mound.

“I feel really happy and then especially during the game,” Wang said through an interpreter. “I feel like I can do it again, come back to the mound, especially it’s been a while, a long time. I was down in Florida rehabbing for almost two years. Right now, I’m back.”

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Johnson said after the game that he believes Wang will stay in the rotation for the rest of the season as long as he continues to make progress. Wang had a 9.64 ERA and 29/19 K/BB ratio in 42 innings with the Yankees before undergoing shoulder surgery in July of 2009, so while it was nice to see him back in the big leagues, he’s far from a lock to be successful.

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.