Ervin Santana wants to sign with a strong offensive team ASAP

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Earlier, we learned that the Phillies might have checked in with free agent starter Ervin Santana. But, wait! There’s more Ervin Santana news.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is hearing from sources that Santana wants to sign a one-year deal as quickly as possible, preferably with a strong offensive team. Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays and the Orioles fit this description. Santana is willing to sign now rather than wait which would have made him exempt from a qualifying offer for the 2014 season. That’s an important note because the qualifying offer is why he is in his current predicament.

The Phillies averaged the third-fewest runs per game in the National League last season, averaging 3.77 runs per game. They could see a slight uptick in runs with the addition of Marlon Byrd and if their core can stay healthy, but that’s a gamble. The Orioles tied for the fourth-highest RPG in the American League at 4.60, while the Jays were just slightly above the AL average at 4.40. The Mariners, another team commonly linked to Santana, averaged 3.85 runs per game last year.

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.