J.C. Romero may bolt Nationals to sign with Yankees

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Veteran left-hander J.C. Romero signed a minor league contract with the Nationals at the end of June. Since then, he’s registered cool a 1.29 ERA in five relief appearances at Triple-A Syracuse, allowing only one earned run in seven innings.

He wants that impressive two-week stretch rewarded by the Nats’ front office. And soon.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Romero’s “intention” is to opt of his contract with the Nationals on July 15 if he is not promoted to the major leagues. The 35-year-old would then sign a minor league deal with the Yankees and report to Triple-A Scranton/Wilke-Barre with the hope of donning pinstripes for the stretch run and possibly the playoffs.

The Nats would do well to promote Romero now, see if he shines in a short stay in the bigs, and then shop him around to reliever-needy teams at the deadline. Just about every contending club could use a lefty reliever.

Romero had a 3.86 ERA and was holding left-handed hitters to a .530 OPS in 24 outings before his release.

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.