Chris Carpenter is ready to resume facing live hitters

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch provides the update:

Chris Carpenter threw his fourth bullpen session on Wednesday and is expected to add the challenge of facing hitters the next time he gets on the mound.

Assuming Carpenter doesn’t feel any day-after pain from his latest work, the right-hander will throw batting practice during the team’s weekend series in Kansas City

Carpenter has been on the disabled list all season with a nerve issue in his neck and shoulder that began bothering him during the second week of spring training.

“I feel good. I really do,” the veteran righty told Langosch on Wednesday. “My shoulder feels good. My body feels good. The effort level has been there, too. … I feel good, and I’m looking forward to the next step.”

Carpenter will need to make three or four minor league rehab starts before rejoining the front end of the Cardinals’ starting rotation. If he’s able to avoid setbacks, he could be ready for MLB action by late July.

The 36-year-old right-hander posted a 3.45 ERA across a major league-high 237 1/3 innings last year before going 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA in six postseason outings (three of which were World Series starts).

The 2012 Cards climbed to one game over .500 (35-34) with Wednesday night’s 3-1 victory over Detroit.

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.