Brett Cecil led the Blue Jays with 15 wins in 2010 and has started 65 games in the majors, but now the 25-year-old left-hander is headed back to the minors following a rough spring training.
Toronto let Cecil pick between going to Triple-A or Double-A and he opted for the lower level because Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment.
Cecil also didn’t put up much of a fight, telling John Lott of the National Post:
I really gave them no choice. I really didn’t help myself out any. I’ve had a month to figure it out. Any pitcher should be able to figure it out then. Some take a little bit longer, like I have. I’m not disappointed at anything at this point.
Cecil came into camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, shedding 40 pounds during the offseason, but struggled with his mechanics while allowing 14 runs in 17 innings. He was also a mess down the stretch last season, going 0-7 with a 5.16 ERA in August and September.
Even with that ugly stretch included Cecil has a 4.64 ERA in 390 career innings, is still young, and isn’t even arbitration eligible yet, so he’ll be back in the majors soon enough. In the meantime the Blue Jays will go with Henderson Alvarez, Kyle Drabek, and Joel Carreno in the rotation behind Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.
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.