Shaun Marcum leaves start with calf injury

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Shaun Marcum lasted just four innings today in his second start back from the disabled list, leaving with an injury after throwing 85 pitches against the Cubs.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the injury wasn’t to his arm, as the Brewers announced that Marcum was dealing with right calf cramping.

All of which means there’s still some chance of Milwaukee being able to trade the impending free agent tomorrow, although Marcum wasn’t impressive before leaving and spent more than two months on the DL.

Odds are he’ll stay with the Brewers and hit the open market this offseason, and considering his injury history it’ll be interesting to see if teams are willing to make a big multi-year commitment to a pitcher who, when healthy, has been a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter.

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.