Brian Roberts draws two walks in minor league rehab debut

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From Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun comes word that veteran second baseman Brian Roberts collected a pair of walks in two plate appearances Wednesday night for the Double-A Bowie Baysox.

He also scored a run and recorded two defensive assists at second base in the first chapter of what’s sure to be a long minor league rehab assignment.

Roberts hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the middle of May last season and is no lock to make it through the rehabilitation process this time around without experiencing a setback. But everything seems to be going smoothly at this point for the 34-year-old lifetime member of the Orioles and his post-concussion syndrome.

Roberts, who boasts three seasons of 50 doubles or more, is currently on pace for a mid-to-late June return.

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.