It’s a really thin market for middle infielders this winter. So thin that, if your team is in need of a shortstop, you may have come across the name Hiroyuki Nakajima on various message boards, blogs and other, less-reputable parts of the Internet where rumors and speculation flow thick. Nakajima plays for the Seibu Lions, he’s 28, he hits for power and gets on base and he reportedly wants to play in the United States.
But sorry, folks! Seibu has denied his request to be posted, which is the mechanism by which major league teams can pay for the privilege of negotiating with him. You’ll have to spend some time over at the excellent NPB Tracker to understand why this is. My guess, though: shortstops who can hit .300+ with power are just as rare in Japan as they are over here, and the Lions don’t want to part with him.
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.
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.