Albert Pujols homers twice in Opening Day win

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New season, same best player in the world.
Albert Pujols went 4-for-5 with two homers, three RBIs, and four runs this afternoon as the Cardinals blew out the Reds in Cincinnati.
He now has the following career numbers in 142 games versus the Reds: .365 with 42 homers, 48 doubles, 121 RBIs, and 131 runs. But wait, here’s the truly amazing part: That works to a 1.129 OPS, which Pujols has actually topped against the Pirates, Padres, and Nationals (and Royals, if you count frequent interleague opponents).
Colby Rasmus also had a big game for the Cardinals, going 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk while also robbing a potential homer off the bat of Scott Rolen. Oh, and Yadier Molina broke the game open with a late grand slam, showing that the strained oblique muscle that had him questionable for Opening Day is seemingly just fine.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.