Padres and Indians both in hot pursuit of Joaquin Benoit

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Both the Padres and the Indians have offered two-year deals and at least $14 million in total to free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Passan’s source close to the Padres suggests the team’s deal could also include a third-year option.

Should Benoit reach such an agreement with either club, he would become the ninth reliever to earn a multi-year deal this off-season. The $14 million total is in the same neighborhood of the deals signed by Joe Nathan, Boone Logan, Joe Smith, and Javier Lopez. While the Padres and Indians have been the most aggressive in pursuit of Benoit, the Cubs, Mariners, and Yankees also showed interest.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.