Barry Zito pitching well through two minor league rehab starts

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Giants left-hander Barry Zito allowed just two hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings last Monday in his first rehab start at Single-A San Jose. He struck out six batters and did not issue a walk while reporting no discomfort in his once-sprained right foot.

Zito was back at it again on Saturday at San Jose, according to CSN Bay Area, surrendering just two earned runs over seven strong frames and striking out six in his second minor league rehab start.

The Giants are likely to move the veteran left-hander to Triple-A Fresno for his next rehab outing and could ask him to make two or three appearances there before they consider activating him from the disabled list sometime in early July.

Ryan Vogelsong has emerged as a highly reliable piece of the San Francisco starting rotation since Zito went down in mid-April and certainly won’t be demoted or moved to a different role. It may be Zito, in fact, who is asked to become a long reliever. Yes, an $18.5 million long reliever. That’s his 2011 salary.

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.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.