Dan Uggla hopes to return to lineup on Saturday

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UPDATE: Guess he’s just fine. Uggla just hit a pinch-hit two-run homer off Reds’ right-hander Nick Masset to put the Braves ahead 6-4 in the top of the ninth.

8:01 PM: Dan Uggla is out of the Braves’ lineup for the second straight day after straining his left calf during Wednesday’s loss to the Rockies.

The good news is that according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Uggla was able to hit off a tee and take batting practice before tonight’s game and hopes to get back in the lineup tomorrow.

“Hopefully it’ll be that much better tomorrow,” Uggla said. “And if it’s that much better tomorrow, I should be able to play on it.”

The injury was poorly timed for Uggla, who is batting .333 with five homers, four doubles and nine RBI during his current 12-game hitting streak. It’s been a frustrating first year in Atlanta for the slugging second baseman. Even with his recent hot streak, he’s still batting just .193 for the season.

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.