Gerald Laird sets new high with six-game hitting streak

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Tigers catcher Gerald Laird went 2-for-5 in Wednesday’s 12-inning loss to the Royals, extending his hitting streak to a career-high six games.
The huge day, which included a double for his 11th extra-base hit in 237 at-bats this season, raised his average to .203. It’s the first time all season that he’s finished a game with an average over the Mendoza Line.
Before this week, Laird had hit in five straight games just once before, that happening in May 2008. Once a reasonably productive catcher, Laird hit .296 and slugged .473 in 243 at-bats for the Rangers in 2006. Even two years ago, he came in at .276/.329/.398 in 344 at-bats for Texas.
Laird, though, was pretty brutal in his first year as the Tigers’ starting catcher in 2009 and he fell completely off the map this year. At 537, he has the worst OPS of any major leaguer with at least 250 plate appearances this season.

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.