Drew Silva

Cards sign Aledmys Diaz

Cardinals designate Aledmys Diaz for assignment

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In this era of Major League Baseball, a failed seven-figure agreement with a player isn’t a huge blow.

But it’s not an insignificant bit of news either.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Cardinals have designated Aledmys Diaz for assignment — a 24-year-old Cuban infielder who was signed out of Cuba last March for four years, $8 million. The move opened up a 40-man roster for Dan Johnson, who is starting at first base for the Cardinals on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Diaz was batting just 235/.292/.344 with three home runs and 21 RBI through 67 games this season at Double-A Springfield. He’ll probably pass through waivers because of the money he is owed, but his future in baseball is not particularly bright.

Justin Upton scratched Wednesday with sore oblique

Justin Upton,
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Justin Upton was a late scratch from the Padres’ starting lineup Wednesday night against the Pirates due to soreness in his left oblique. Will Venable is starting in left field and Melvin Upton Jr. is playing center versus Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton.

Upton acknowledged to MLB.com’s Corey Brock that he’s been experiencing discomfort in his oblique since making a difficult catch in St. Louis last week. He’s considered day-to-day for now, but it sounds like an extended absence may be in order.

Upton, 27, has slashed .259/.338/.434 with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, 16 stolen bases, and 44 runs scored in 84 games this season for the Padres, who entered play Wednesday with a disappointing 39-47 record.

There’s been talk that Upton might become a trade chip for the Friars later this month.

The 2015 MLB Home Run Derby bracket

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Pictured below is the 2015 Home Run Derby bracket, via MLB Communications

source:

Here’s a breakdown of the rules under this new Home Run Derby format, via our own Bill Baer …

It’s a bracket-style, single-elimination tournament in which the loser of each bracket is eliminated immediately. Seeding is based on 2015 home run totals as of July 7. Ties are broken by home runs hit since July 7, with the winner getting the higher seeding. The higher seed hits last.

Each batter gets five minutes per round, with the timer starting when the first pitch is thrown. Home runs hit during the final minute will stop the timer. The timer will not start again until hits a non-home run, or swings and misses.

Batters can attain bonus time. They can get one additional minute for hitting two home runs that equal or exceed 420 feet (as measured by MLB Advanced Media’s Statcast). A home run greater than or equal to 475 feet will result in 30 bonus seconds. The two bonuses are not mutually exclusive.

If two batters are tied at the end of a round, they’ll go into a 90-second swing-off. In a swing-off, the timer cannot stop for any reason and no bonus time can be claimed. Should a tie remain at the end of a swing-off, they’ll move into successive three-swing swing-offs until a winner is decided.

In any round, once the second batter (the “home” batter, for all intents and purposes) passes the first batter (“away”) in home runs, the round will be stopped and he will advance.

Each batter can use one 45-second time-out per round to collect his thoughts, take a breath, etc.

The hope is this format will help the event flow more efficiently and maintain a certain level of excitement. It has tended to drag on in years past. Watch the 2015 Home Run Derby live next Monday night on ESPN.

Your 2015 MLB Home Run Derby participants …

Great American Ball Park
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The participants in the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park are being revealed live on Sportscenter at 6 p.m. ET. We’ll list all of the names here as they come out …

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds
Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
Joc Pederson, CF, Dodgers

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays
Prince Fielder, 1B, Rangers
Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles

The event is July 13 — next Monday night. For a rundown of the new format, head here.

Stephen Strasburg lands on disabled list with oblique strain

Stephen Strasburg pitches for the Harrisburg Senators, June 17, 2015
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Via beat writer Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com

Strasburg suffered the oblique strain Saturday in his start against the Giants. He had thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings in that outing and was also sharp in his previous two starts since returning from a trapezius injury.

It’s been a frustrating season for Strasburg, to say the least. He owns a 5.16 ERA in 13 starts overall.