Tim Belcher steps down as Indians pitching coach

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Indians bench coach Tim Tolman resigned yesterday because of Parkinson’s disease and today pitching coach Tim Belcher stepped down to “spend more time with his family.”

Sandy Alomar Jr. was immediately promoted from first base coach to bench coach to replace Tolman, but the Indians haven’t decided on Belcher’s replacement yet.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates that bullpen coach Scott Radinsky has the inside track on the job.

Belcher, who won 146 games during a 14-year career with seven different teams, spent two seasons as the Indians’ pitching coach and is expected to remain in the organization as an “advisor.”

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.