Ryan Zimmerman was expected to get the day off tomorrow, so it was a bit of a surprise to see Mark DeRosa run out to third base this afternoon against the Marlins. According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Zimmerman was a late-minute scratch due to mild right shoulder inflammation.
The team announced that Zimmerman has “no structural damage in the least,” though no MRI was performed. He is listed as day-to-day right now.
Zimmerman, 27, is hitting .224/.324/.345 with one home run, seven RBI and a .668 OPS through 68 plate appearances this season. He signed a six-year, $100 million extension in late February which will keep him with the Nationals through at least 2019.
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.