Franklin Gutierrez could play in some minor league games this week

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According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Franklin Gutierrez could play in a few minor league games before the end of the week. The Gold Glover is currently on the disabled list with a stomach issue that dates back to last season.

The Mariners are still awaiting the results of one final test before Gutierrez will be cleared for game activity, but he has regained some weight and kept up with baseball-related exercises in recent days.

While Gutierrez is making progress, Mariners manager Eric Wedge said that he won’t play more than a few innings at a time in the minor league games, at least initially.

“Just until he starts to get a few games under his belt,” Wedge said.

For what it’s worth, Baker speculates that his return is still at least a couple weeks away. The Mariners will continue to use Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders in center field for the time being.

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.