Josh Hamilton is trying to quit the dip

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Josh Hamilton is trying to drop a nasty habit:

Josh Hamilton made a decision early Wednesday morning before he arrived at Tropicana Field. He is trying to quit using smokeless tobacco.

“Today is the first day,” Hamilton said before the Rangers’ series finale with the Rays. “The Holy Spirit … I kept waking up last night thinking about different things and what might be causing me to stumble in my relationship with the Lord. I felt like chewing tobacco was one. So I got up this morning and threw it all away. So when it is time to take a dip, I pray instead.”

Whatever works. Tobacco kills, so I don’t care if he sings the first two verses and of “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” and does a little jig each time he has a tobacco craving. Quitting that stuff is an absolute good.

And you think it shouldn’t be too tough for him given that the dude kicked coke, heroin and booze. But I’ve spoken to a couple of addicts before, each of whom said it was actually harder for them to stop smoking. Their explanation: drugs wreck your body so quickly and can bring you so close to death that — despite how addictive drugs can be — the crappy risk/reward ratio of doing them becomes clear way more quickly than smoking’s does. For the former, there is some fairly immediate “oh crap, I’m gonna die” moment.  For the latter it’s a physical and psychological addiction paired with the mere intellectual realization that, yes, in some years this will kill them.

However that works in Hamilton’s head, good luck to him.

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.