Giants manager Bruce Bochy and coaching staff went to hypnotherapist to stop dipping

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Giants manager Bruce Bochy hasn’t used chewing tobacco since April 14, when a session with hypnotherapist Dr. AlVera Paxson apparently cured him of the longtime habit, according to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press.

Bochy visited Paxson after bullpen catcher Bill Hayes and equipment manager Mike Murphy stopped dipping following sessions of their own. Hayes hasn’t dipped since January and Murphy has gone two years without. Total cost: $300.

All of which is interesting and impressive, but I’ll wait to form my opinion on hypnotherapy until Paxson takes a crack at fixing the Giants’ offense. Getting middle-aged men to kick a decades-long habit cold turkey is one thing, but getting Aubrey Huff to start hitting again is the real challenge.

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.