Rockies activate Michael Cuddyer; Rafael Betancourt and Jeff Francis make progress

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The Rockies have activated Michael Cuddyer from the 15-day disabled list, tweets Troy Renck. The outfielder had been sidelined due to an inflamed cervical disc, halting a fantastic start to the year. The 34-year-old carried a .319/.383/.580 line through May 8, his last appearance. It should be noted his numbers are much better at Coors Field (1.157 OPS) than on the road (.785).

Meanwhile, reliever Rafael Betancourt will throw a bullpen to determine his availability for tonight’s game against the Giants, according to Renck. He had left Tuesday’s game with a groin injury and there was thought that he would wind up on the disabled list, but he appears to be avoiding that option. Additionally, lefty Jeff Francis — also dealing with a groin injury — threw a 25-pitch bullpen and will head to extended spring training before being reevaluated by the team. Francis had a 6.00 ERA in 36 innings before succumbing to the injury, and will have to hope a rotation spot opens up if and when he is ready.

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.