Cliff Lee (abdomen) placed on disabled list

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cliff lee throwing.JPGJanie McCauley of the Associated Press (via NBCSports.com) reports that the Mariners have placed left-hander Cliff Lee on the 15-day disabled list to start the season as he continues his recovery from an abdominal strain.

Lee enjoyed a pain-free throwing session late last week and is making progress toward a return, but the M’s have not revealed any sort of timetable.  Since he hasn’t begun throwing from a mound, we can probably write him off for at least the first two weeks of the regular season.  A return before the end of April would, of course, be a real positive for Seattle. 

The 31-year-old southpaw went 14-13 last season with a 3.22 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 181 strikeouts in 231 2/3 innings between Cleveland and Philadelphia.  He should enjoy the spacious confines of Safeco Field once he’s able to regain his health.

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.