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Royals sign Brandon League to minor league deal

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The Royals signed right-hander Brandon League to a minor league deal on Saturday, according to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. The 33-year-old is one of 22 non-roster invitees and was picked up along with fellow right-handers Al Alburquerque and Chris Withrow.

Of the three, League has the most obstacles to overcome in order to land a spot on the Royals’ roster this spring. He hasn’t pitched professionally since 2015, when he made 10 appearances for the Dodgers’ High-A and Triple-A affiliates while recovering from shoulder impingement. Prior to 2015, he played three years with the Dodgers at the major league level, sustaining a cumulative 3.55 ERA and 0.1 fWAR over 144 2/3 innings.

In a best-case scenario, League could provide the kind of production value he amassed during his last season with the Dodgers, complete with the career-best 2.57 ERA and 0.0 HR/9 rate. At worst, his age and chronic shoulder problems will force the Royals to turn to another veteran arm. At least for the time being, it looks like they have plenty to choose from.

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.