Jered Weaver makes it through simulated game without pain

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The Angels are close to getting their ace back.

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, Jered Weaver threw 60 pitches yesterday in a four-inning simulated game without pain.

Weaver has been sidelined since the end of May with a lower back strain. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, after which the Angels will make a decision about whether he’s ready to rejoin the starting rotation.

“Everything looked great, he looked really sharp,” Scioscia said. “But we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and how he comes out of his bullpen Sunday before thinking about fitting him back in.”

Weaver, 29, had a 2.61 ERA and 57/15 K/BB ratio over his first 11 starts prior to the injury. The Angels are 10-6 during his absence and currently sit four games behind the first-place Rangers in the American League West.

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.