Athletics present Dallas Braden with a diamond ring

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Dallas Braden logo.jpgThe Athletics celebrated “Dallas Braden Day” on Friday to commemorate the pitcher’s perfect game against the Rays on May 9, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

As part of the celebration, the team presented him with a diamond ring, complete with 51 diamonds on the front — for his uniform number — and 27 diamonds along the edges — for the 27 outs he recorded en route to the 19th perfect game in major league history. Yes, Billy Beane went to Jared’s.

I’m currently searching for a picture of the ring, but all I have right now is Landon Powell and Braden standing near a pretty nifty logo on the left field wall. It’ll have to do.

According to Jane Lee and Alex Espinoza of MLB.com, his
grandmother was presented with a matching pendant
. You can watch her throw out the first pitch here. Like Dallas, she’s a southpaw.

Braden has dropped each of his last two starts since throwing the perfect game. He left Wednesday’s game against the Tigers due to illness, but is expected to make his next start.

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.