Jeff Suppan close to rejoining Brewers' rotation

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When the Brewers placed Jeff Suppan on the disabled list last week there was some speculation that the move was made in part to delay a decision on whether or not to add the 35-year-old right-hander to the rotation.
However, today’s news that he’s slated to come off the shelf following just one minor-league rehab outing suggests otherwise. Suppan is scheduled to start Friday at Single-A, and if all goes well with his neck injury could be activated for a start as soon as next Wednesday against the Cubs.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Suppan will rejoin the rotation while both Manny Parra and Chris Narveson remain in the bullpen, with the 36-year-old’s $12.5 million salary no doubt playing a factor even if the Brewers don’t want to admit it.
“We could have a number of No. 5 starters over the course of the year,” manager Ken Macha said. “Right now, we’re going in this direction. Production will be a big part of it. You could make a case for all three guys.”
Suppan went 7-12 with a 5.29 ERA in 30 starts last season, giving up 200 hits and 74 walks in 161.2 innings for the second-most baserunners per nine innings of any pitcher with 25 or more starts. Of course, the only guy to allow more baserunners per nine innings was Parra, so it’s a lesser-of-two-evils situation for Macha and the Brewers.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with 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.