Nelson Cruz’s hamstring injury could motivate Rangers to pursue Lance Berkman

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While the Rangers await word on Nelson Cruz’s latest hamstring injury Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News speculates that Lance Berkman of the Cardinals would be “their prime target … if the Rangers do go elsewhere for help.”

Berkman cleared waivers last week, so the Cardinals are free to trade the 35-year-old outfielder, and he’s owed around $1.3 million for September as part of a one-year contract.

Fraley notes that Berkman considered signing with the Rangers before choosing the Cardinals and he’s been an incredible pickup for St. Louis, hitting .289 with 30 homers and a .975 OPS in 118 games.

Obviously the Rangers would love to add an impact bat to the lineup as they try to stay ahead of the Angels in the AL West, but Berkman said last week that he’d ideally like to re-sign with the Cardinals and regardless of Cruz’s status a last-minute deal for a hitter as good as Berkman seems unlikely.

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.