Nick Masset signs two-year deal with Reds, avoids arbitration

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Cincinnati has bought out Nick Masset’s remaining arbitration eligibility, signing the right-hander to a two-year contract that MLB Trade Rumors reports is worth $5.5 million.

Masset made $1.725 million last season and submitted a $2.9 million figure for arbitration after throwing 70 innings with a 3.71 ERA and 62/31 K/BB ratio. Cincinnati countered at $2.1 million.

When the Reds acquired Masset from the White Sox in the mid-2008 deal for Ken Griffey Jr. he looked like little more than a fifth starter or long reliever, but he’s proven to be much more than that with a 3.07 ERA and 228 strikeouts in 240 innings for Cincinnati while adding velocity and emerging as a quality setup man.

Masset, who was already under team control for two more seasons, remains on track to become a free agent following 2013.

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.