Jake Peavy has 3.24 ERA and 16/1 K/BB ratio since returning from shoulder surgery

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Jake Peavy missed the second half of last season following shoulder surgery and spent the first five weeks of this year on the disabled list as part of his recovery, but since rejoining the White Sox’s rotation on May 11 he’s 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts.

Even more impressive than the nice-looking 3.24 ERA is that Peavy has totaled 16 strikeouts in 25 innings while walking a grand total of one hitter (Ian Kinsler of the Rangers, on May 24).

Peavy’s current strikeout rate would be a career-low by a wide margin and his velocity is down somewhat, as he’s averaged 91.1 miles per hour with his fastball compared to 92-93 mph during his peak with the Padres.

On the other hand he remains far from a soft-tosser, racking up eight strikeouts in his shutout of the Indians on May 18, and the fact that his control has been so good after going 10 months between starts because of major shoulder surgery is remarkable.

Moving from the NL to the AL and from the majors’ most extreme pitcher-friendly ballpark to a home that boosts power means Peavy was never a good bet to replicate his outstanding raw numbers from San Diego even before the injury, but through 24 starts in Chicago he has a 3.97 ERA and 127/41 K/BB ratio and the White Sox have to be very encouraged by how he’s looked post-surgery.

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.