Erik Bedard set to return from disabled list Friday

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We probably would have heard left-hander Erik Bedard mentioned in trade rumors this month, but the Mariners have had zero opportunity to showcase him due to a month-long absence with a knee injury.

It may be “too little, too late” to get something done before July 31, but Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Bedard will rejoin the Mariners’ starting rotation Friday night against the Rays. He was cleared to return after throwing 40 pitches in a simulated game Saturday.

While contenders will get a look at the veteran left-hander on Friday, Mariners manager Eric Wedge confirmed that Bedard will be on a pitch count.

“I’m not going to give you a pitch count, but we’ll have to pull him back a little bit,” Wedge said. “But he will be okay though.”

Bedard didn’t throw a pitch in the majors in 2010 due to shoulder problems, but has a 3.00 ERA and 85/26 K/BB ratio over 90 innings across 15 starts this season. It’s unlikely that he’ll be dealt with such a short turnaround before Sunday’s deadline, but he could a consideration in August if he continues to pitch well, and more importantly, remains healthy.

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.