Justin Ruggiano shut down with shoulder sprain

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From MLB.com beat writer Joe Frisaro comes word that the Marlins have shut down outfeilder Justin Ruggiano for the remainder of the 2012 season because of a sprained right shoulder that he suffered last Friday night while trying to make a diving catch.

Ruggiano does not need shoulder surgery and should be back near full health after a couple months of rest.

The 30-year-old was one of the few bright spots in a dismal season for the Fish, posting a .313/.374/.535 batting line, 13 home runs, 23 doubles and 36 RBI across 320 plate appearances. He also tallied 14 stolen bases and made multiple highlight-reel catches in the spacious outfield at Marlins Park.

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.