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Report: Melvin Upton Jr. to sign with Giants

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Outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. reportedly has a minor league deal in the works with the Giants, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Upton Jr. was released by the Blue Jays last Sunday after he was told he wouldn’t make the 25-man roster out of spring training. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman speculated that the outfielder could have a place with the Giants or Rays, and it appears that the Giants’ poor start to the season has intensified their search for help in the outfield:

Upton Jr. will join the Triple-A Sacramento squad to begin the season, Feinsand adds. He’ll join Drew Stubbs in the outfield, either of whom could¬†see a call-up this spring if the Giants’ left fielders continue to tank at the plate.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.

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.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.