Rangers: Beltre still expected to miss only two weeks

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Jon Heyman of SI.com reported Saturday that Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is likely to miss “about a month” of spring training because of the Grade 1 muscle strain in his right calf, putting his status for Opening Day in serious doubt.

The Rangers are now refuting that, holding strong to their estimation that Beltre might be ready for spring games around March 10 and that he will be fine by the regular season opener.

Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas spoke Sunday morning with Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine in an attempt to clear up the confusion:

“[We] still feel it’s two weeks,” said Levine.

Adrian Beltre was signed to a five-year, $80 million contract this offseason after posting a .321/.365/.553 batting line, 28 home runs and 102 RBI over 154 games in 2010 for the Red Sox while also playing great defense at the hot corner. The Rangers open their season at home on April 1 against Boston.

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.