Diamondbacks unlikely to exercise $7.5 million option on Adam LaRoche

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An official decision won’t have to be made until later this week, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks are unlikely to exercise their $7.5 million option on first baseman Adam LaRoche for 2011.

Back in September both LaRoche and the team expressed interest in working out a contract extension, but that was before Kevin Towers took over for Jerry Dipoto as general manager and now Piecoro writes that the Diamondbacks are likely “to direct their available revenue toward pitching and the bench.”

LaRoche hit .261/.320/.468 with 25 homers, 37 doubles, and 100 RBIs this season, more or less duplicating his career marks while earning $4.5 million. If the Diamondbacks decline his $7.5 million option they’ll owe him a $1.5 million buyout.

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.