Jed Lowrie on track to come off disabled list Friday

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Jed Lowrie’s sprained right thumb prevented him from being on the Opening Day roster, but he could make his Astros’ debut later this week.

According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Lowrie is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He got the go-ahead after taking batting practice from both sides of the plate on Sunday. The current plan calls for him to play rehab games on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming off the disabled list for Friday’s series opener against the Marlins.

Lowrie is expected to serve as the Astros’ starting shortstop this season after coming over from the Red Sox in the Mark Melancon deal, but injuries have been a constant theme during his career. The 27-year-old has never played more than 88 games in a 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.