Blalock can opt out of 'convoluted' deal with Rays

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Hank Blalock’s minor-league contract with the Rays includes an opt-out clause that allows him to request his release and become a free agent if not added to the 40-man roster by April 1.
He can also choose to accept an assignment to the minors, which seems like it could be a decent option given that the other 29 big-league also weren’t willing to give him a major-league deal. In fact, only the Marlins were really linked to him at all.
Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman used “convoluted” to describe the deal, which would pay $925,000 if Blalock makes the Opening Day roster and includes another $250,000 in playing time-based incentives.
“What I will say is that at the end of spring if there’s not a 25-man spot for him and there is somewhere else we’re not going to stand in his way,” Friedman told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.

Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title

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The Marlins announced on Sunday that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title when the city of Miami host’s the All-Star Game festivities next month.

Stanton, 27, defeated Todd Frazier in the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hitting 20 home runs to Frazier’s 13. Stanton hit a total of 61 home runs in the Derby. This will be the third Home Run Derby in which Stanton has participated.

Stanton also went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to help the Marlins defeat the Cubs 4-2 on Sunday. He’s now batting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI in 311 plate appearances.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.