Alex Rodriguez hitless in first rehab game

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Alex Rodriguez began a minor league rehab assignment last night with High-A Tampa and went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts as the designated hitter. It was his first game action since suffering a fracture in his left hand when he was by a pitch by Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez on July 24.

Rodriguez must be feeling pretty good, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York reports that he’s starting at third base today in his second rehab game. Even better, Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks it’s possible he could be activated from the disabled list when the team when they begin a three-game series against the Rays on Monday. The Yankees have lost seven out of their last 10 games and are struggling to put runs on the board recently, so that’s a very good thing.

Rodriguez, 37, is hitting .276/.358/.449 with 15 home runs, 44 RBI, 11 stolen bases and an .806 OPS in 94 games played this season.

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.