Off to Spring Training

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I’m hopping on an airplane here shortly and heading for Arizona. That’s right, kids, a week in the Valley of the Sun, taking in Cactus League action.  I assure you, though, I won’t be enjoying myself at all. It’ll be all work. Really. Truly!

OK, maybe I’ll enjoy it a little. But I will be working.  As I have done for the past couple of years, I’ll be filing several reports a day from spring training complexes, telling you the stuff I see as I wander around.  Also, because I am now occasionally associated with an actual television network and I am thus, in the eyes of media relations professionals, respectable, I will be doing a handful of interviews with actual baseball players for NBC SpotsTalk.  I’ll try not to be all Chris Farley about it, but I’m not confident (“Remember that time you got that hit in the playoffs? That was awesome”).

Anyway, here’s the schedule for the week:

  • Tuesday: White Sox vs Angels in Tempe: Pujols-a-palooza!
  • Wednesday: Rangers vs Padres in Peoria: Yu Darvish’s first scheduled start!
  • Thursday: Angels vs Indians in Goodyear: I shall stalk my daughter’s favorite player, Shelley Duncan!
  • Friday: Indians vs Brewers in Maryvale: I finally get to give Ryan Braun that hug you readers think I want to give him!
  • Saturday: Reds vs A’s in Phoenix: Manny bein’ Manny!; and
  • Sunday: Cubs vs Dodgers in Glendale: I’ll write an alternate history in which each of these teams are elite and big-spending and I may give Frank McCourt I big, wet sloppy good-bye kiss.

In addition to posting I should be tweeting like crazy too, so give a follow: @craigcalcaterra.

Talk to you from Arizona, ladies and germs. And remember: wear sunscreen.

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.