Max Scherzer starting today following his brother’s death

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Max Scherzer is pitching against the Pirates this afternoon with a very heavy heart.

Scherzer has been away from the Tigers for the past couple of days due to “personal reasons,” but now we know some of the details regarding his absence. And they are heartbreaking.

Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reports that Scherzer is pitching today, despite his younger brother Alex passing away three days ago. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com has learned that he took his own life.

Just terrible. Our thoughts go out to Scherzer and his family. It’s little consolation, but he’s going to have a lot of people rooting for him today.

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.