Nationals ink Clay Hensley to minor league contract

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As first reported by beat writer Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Nationals have signed right-handed reliever Clay Hensley to a minor league contract with a formal invitation to major league spring training.

Hensley posted a 2.16 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 75 innings for the Marlins in 2010 and he won a World Series ring in 2012 with the Giants. But he spent the entire 2013 season in either Triple-A or independent ball and is highly doubtful to find a spot in the Nats’ talented bullpen for the start of the 2014 campaign.

Hensley, 34, owns a 4.00 career ERA and 1.37 career WHIP in 517 major league innings.

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.