Joakim Soria throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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Joakim Soria may not be ready to join the Rangers’ bullpen until late May or early June, but he took a major step today in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery.

Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that Soria threw off a mound today for the first time since going under the knife last April. He threw a total of 15 pitches without incident. Assuming no setbacks, the plan is for him to throw every other day for the next 15 days.

The Rangers added Soria over the winter on a two-year, $8 million contract with a club option for a third year. Once he’s back to full health, he’s expected to operate as a set-up man for closer Joe Nathan.

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.