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News briefs: Ortiz to select AL Home Run Derby squad


On Thursday, Ortiz was tapped by Major League Baseball to captain the American League contingent for the All-Star Home Run Derby on July 11 at Chase Field in Arizona. His primary duty in that role will be to pick the three players who will join him on the AL team.

And so, over the next few days, Ortiz will make phone calls and send text messages to various players to gauge their interest. He said he already has three players in mind, but he wouldn't reveal their names until he speaks to them.

"It's tough," Ortiz said. "I mean, there's a lot of players -- great players, and even players that are not home run hitters -- that can put up a show. You know what I'm saying? But me, if I would be a fan of baseball, right now, I would like to see the guys hitting for power coming in hitting in the Home Run Derby and showing the whole planet why they're hitting for power."

Is Ortiz looking for righties or lefties? Has he studied the tendencies of Chase Field?

"You know what, I'm going to have to use my scouting to figure out who the best of the best can be," Ortiz said with a laugh. "As a group, we're working on donating some money to a foundation, so we've got to go for it."

Ortiz won the Derby last year and has competed in it four times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2010). This year marks the first time that Major League Baseball has chosen captains (Prince Fielder will serve in that capacity for the National League). Full Story

Pirates place Cedeno on 7-day concussion DL

WASHINGTON -- The Pittsburgh Pirates placed shortstop Ronny Cedeno on the 7-day concussion disabled list before the first game of Saturday's doubleheader with the Washington Nationals.

The Pirates also recalled right-hander Brad Lincoln from Triple-A Indianapolis to start the second game of the doubleheader.

Cedeno was hit on the back of his head while unsuccessfully attempting to break up a double play in the fourth inning of Friday's loss to Washington. Moments earlier, he extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

"He had limited symptoms initially, but got worse as the night progressed -- even after leaving the ballpark," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.

Yankees unsure about SP Hughes' next step

The Yankees remain unsure whether Phil Hughes will rejoin the rotation or make a second rehab start, the New York Post reports.

"We are talking about a six-man rotation and talking about another rehab start," GM Brian Cashman said.

The Yankees are being extra cautious with Hughes, who saw his velocity disappear and got absolutely razed in three starts before mercifully going on the disabled list. Since then, Hughes has worked his way back and is currently firing his fastball around 93 mph, the average velocity of his heater over the last two seasons, so he's ready.

But Hughes has only made three rehab starts. While his numbers in those starts are promising with three runs allowed in 14 innings with an 18/5 K/BB ratio, you can understand why the Yankees might be hesitant. They have the luxury of doing so, as no one in the rotation is deserving of being yanked. Bartolo Colon was activated off the disabled list to start while Freddy Garcia currently has the best ERA of his career. Even rookie Ivan Nova has gotten in on the fun, mystifying the Mets on Friday night to drop his ERA to 4.12.

Angels' Hunter out with bruised left hand

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Torii Hunter has been held out of the Los Angeles Angels' lineup because of a bruised left hand.

Hunter was injured in the first inning Friday night against the Dodgers, when he was hit by a pitch from Hiroki Kuroda. The nine-time Gold Glove winner played two innings in the field before coming out of the game. X-rays and a CT scan both were negative.

Hunter entered batting .239 with eight home runs and a team-high 39 RBI. The four-time All-Star played in each of the first 76 games before missing the three-game series against the Dodgers last weekend because of bruised ribs.

Manager Mike Scioscia said before pregame that Hunter would be available for defense and pinch-running duties.

Cubs Byrd returns after hit in the face with pitch

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd, who missed six weeks after being hit in the face with a pitch, was activated off the 15-day disabled list and in the lineup against the White Sox.

Boston's Alfredo Aceves hit Byrd with a pitch below the left eye on May 21, causing multiple facial fractures. When Byrd first went to a hospital in Boston, he said he couldn't see.

But he returns to the Cubs following a four-game rehab assignment in Iowa. Byrd batted .267 with a homer and three RBI during his rehab stint and said he was hit with a pitch twice.

In 44 games with the Cubs this season, Byrd is batting .308 with three home runs and 11 RBI. He was an All-Star last season.

Padres' Hudson out with bruised left knee

SEATTLE -- San Diego second baseman Orlando Hudson likely will be out for a few games after fouling a pitch off his left knee in the series opener against Seattle.

Padres manager Bud Black says Hudson is sore but likely only needs a couple days off and won't need an extended stint on the disabled list.

Hudson was injured in the second inning Friday night when he fouled Jason Vargas' pitch off his leg. He had to be helped off the field and was replaced on Alberto Gonzalez at second base.

Gonzalez was in the starting lineup on Saturday night and batting ninth.

Marlins designate Lopez for assignment

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Florida Marlins designated infielder Jose Lopez for assignment prior to their night game against the Texas Rangers.

Lopez was signed by the Marlins on June 7 after he was released by the Colorado Rockies. He was 3 for 29 in 12 games for the Marlins, striking out as a pinch hitter on Friday night in his final at bat for Florida.

The Marlins recalled outfielder Bryan Petersen from Triple-A New Orleans to take Lopez's roster spot and manager Jack McKeon had Petersen in the starting lineup, batting ninth.

Florida also recalled left-hander Brad Hand from Double-A Jacksonville.

Baker drawing trade interest

It's going to be rather difficult for the Cubs to jettison its high-salaried players, as many are either making too much money or not performing up to snuff. (Read more on the high-salaried players available for trade.)

That's not the case with utility fielder Jeff Baker, who is drawing trade interest and has been linked to the Red Sox and Phillies. Both teams are seeking a right-handed bat capable of playing the outfield, which Baker can provide, but he doesn't want to be moved.

“I think I have a pretty good niche and role here that’s functional,” Baker told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I can play some positions that we might have a need going forward."

Baker, 30, has carved out a career thus far with the Rockies and Cubs as a platoon player who has played every position on the field save for catcher, shortstop and left field. Baker usually amasses 200-300 at-bats a year thanks to his ability as a right-handed batter to hit left-handed pitching, as his line of .321/.370/.549 indicates, versus a .241/.295/.370 mark against righties. Baker's whole package makes him a valuable player at just $1.175 million for the year.

Indians' Carmona falls hard, leaves game

CINCINNATI -- Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona tripped and fell hard while running out a grounder, forcing him to leave his start against the Cincinnati Reds after only two innings.

Carmona hit a grounder to third baseman Scott Rolen with a runner aboard in the top of the third. Running hard to try to avoid an out, he tripped a few steps shy of first base and fell on his chest. Carmona got up, stretched his right thigh and shook his pitching hand.

After talking to manager Manny Acta, he left the game. He was diagnosed with a strained right thigh. There was no immediate indication how long he would be sidelined.

Carmona was the Indians' only All-Star last season. He's been in a deep slump, falling to 4-10.

Rangers option Kirkman, activate O'Day

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers activated right-hander Darren O'Day from the 60-day disabled list prior to the game against the Florida Marlins.

O'Day had been out since April 27 with a partial tear of the labrum in his left hip. He compiled a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances for Texas before the injury.

After recovering from surgery on the hip, O'Day had a 3.68 ERA in six minor league relief appearances leading to his return to the Rangers roster.

To create a spot for O'Day on the 25-man roster, the Rangers optioned left-hander Michael Kirkman to Triple-A Round Rock.

Brewers reinstate Saito from 60-day DL

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Milwaukee Brewers have activated right-handed pitcher Takashi Saito from the 60-day disabled list and optioned right-handed pitcher Tim Dillard to Triple-A Nashville.

Signed in January to be the team's setup man, Saito was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two appearances before being placed on the 15-day DL on April 6 with a left hamstring sprain. Saito left a rehabilitation outing April 28 with a left oblique strain. He was later scratched from a June 12 rehab appearance with upper back tightness.

Dillard was 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in 15 relief appearances for Milwaukee.

Braves recall Gearrin, option Martinez

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves have optioned right-hander Cristhian Martinez to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled right-hander Cory Gearrin.

The 25-year-old Gearrin was recalled for the third time this season before the game against Baltimore. He is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 games with Atlanta, all in relief. He most recently was optioned to Gwinnett on June 11.

Martinez was 0-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 19 games, including a 5.19 ERA in five appearances in June.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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