Kendrys Morales now aiming for early May return

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There’s still no official timetable for his return from last year’s broken ankle, but Kendrys Morales took a big step in his recovery yesterday by running on the field wearing cleats for the first time since early spring training.

Mike Scioscia was quick to point out that Morales was running at less than 100 percent, calling it “baby steps.” However, given that being able to run at something resembling full speed is basically the only thing keep Morales from rejoining the Angels’ lineup even baby steps are a major development.

He’s been taking batting practice and participating in fielding drills for a while now, but when Morales tried to ramp up his running in early March he experienced a setback in the form of foot soreness.

According Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times “the Angels hope Morales can return by early May.”

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.