OK, maybe the Mets aren't going to fire Howard Johnson

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When we all woke up this morning the buzz was that the Mets were poised to fire hitting coach Howard Johnson. Now Andy Martino of the Daily News hears from his sources that if they Mets were really going to can HoJo, they would have done it already.

I stand by my belief that firing a hitting coach over a team’s won-loss record is about as useful as a rain dance or rubbing a rabbit’s foot. Heck, maybe less useful, because at least rain dances and rubbing a rabbit’s foot are acts borne of some positive impulse that could at least give everyone involved some peace of mind.

Not that I’m alone in this. Indeed, I saw a number of people in the sporting press and the greater Mets Kingdom express similar sentiments today. Some even said that if Omar Minaya were to fire Johnson that he’d be doing so to distract from the more pressing need of firing Jerry Manuel or maybe even taking the fall himself.  Part of me wonders if he saw some of that himself today and changes his mind.

If so, you owe all of us bloggers a beer, Johnson.

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.