Josh Hamilton homers for first time since May 12

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Josh Hamilton’s home run drought is finally over. And yes, I write that with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

After Aaron mentioned this morning that Hamilton hadn’t homered in nearly two weeks, the Rangers’ slugger went deep in the bottom of the second inning tonight against the Blue Jays. His solo shot off right-hander Carlos Villanueva landed in the second deck in right field.

It was Hamilton’s first home run since May 12, spanning 11 games and 47 plate appearances. Even with the two-week gap between round-trippers, Hamilton still leads the majors by a wide margin with 19 home runs. After hitting another home run tonight, Adam Dunn currently ranks second in the majors with 15.

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.