Rich Aurilia hangs up his cleats after 15 years

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aurilia cap tip.JPGRich Aurilia officially announced his retirement from baseball Sunday, according to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, and may go to work for the Giants in some kind of broadcasting capacity.

Aurilia, 38, posted a .275/.328/.433 batting line over 15 professional seasons, making stops in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Cincinnati.  In fact, he was in San Fran when he made the announcement this weekend.

“It’s weird being around here, man,” Aurilia said. “I wanted to grab a
bat in the 11th inning the other day when they had guys on third with
less than two outs. I miss being around the guys and I miss the
competition, but everything else I’m OK with. It’s time for a different
phase of my life. I’m actually handling it better than I thought I
would, which is good.”

Aurilia hit .213/.256/.279 in 133 plate appearances for the Giants last season while earning a cool $1 million salary.  He was an All-Star just once — back in 2001.

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.