The Marlins’ decision to release Mike Cameron with 2 1/2 weeks left in the season seemed awfully odd, particularly with Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison banged up. But they obviously had their reasons. Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel reports that the center fielder was let go for conduct detrimental to the team.
No word on what said conduct was. It certainly comes as a big surprise, as the 38-year-old Cameron has never been viewed as a problem player. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Cameron played in 45 games for the Marlins after being released by the Red Sox and hit .238/.331/.420 with six homers and 18 RBI in 143 at-bats. It’s not a great line, but the .751 OPS is actually slightly better than what NL center fielders (.747) and left fielders (.748) are putting up as a whole this season.
With Cameron gone and Morrison and Stanton both sidelined, the Marlins are using an outfield of Greg Dobbs, Bryan Petersen and Emilio Bonifacio tonight. It’s the fifth outfield start for Dobbs, who spent much of the first few months battling Bonifacio for playing time at third base.
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.
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.