Brian Matusz not close to making 2011 debut

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Orioles starter Brian Matusz has been on the disabled list since spring training concluded due to an intercostal muscle strain.

The 2011 season is over two weeks old now and Matusz isn’t anywhere close to returning.

According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, the left-hander is still working out at the Orioles’ spring training complex and has not been cleared to begin throwing bullpen sessions. That likely means that he’s at least three weeks away from taking a mound in the major leagues.

O’s manager Buck Showalter told the Sun that Matusz is only feeling mild discomfort, so they could rush him through his rehab if they wanted. But Showalter and Co. aren’t going to risk it with one of their most promising young pitchers. Caution is the way.

Matusz, 24, managed a 3.63 ERA and 63/25 K/BB ratio in 72 innings after the All-Star break last 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.