Joakim Soria agrees to two-year contract with Rangers

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Joakim Soria, who had his $8 million option declined by the Royals, has agreed to a two-year deal with the Rangers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Soria missed all of 2012 following Tommy John elbow surgery, but was among the elite closers in baseball from 2007-2011, saving 160 games with a 2.40 ERA in 315 innings.

Presumably in Texas he’d act as a setup man for Joe Nathan, who himself was signed by the Rangers one season after coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery that cost him all of 2010.

Nathan saved 37 games with a 2.80 ERA and 78/13 K/BB ratio in 64 innings for the Rangers this year, so if Soria is healthy Texas’ late-inning bullpen could be scary. Soria would replace free agent Mike Adams as Nathan’s primary setup man.

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.