Carlos Zambrano moves his comeback to Single-A

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After getting tuned up in extended spring training Carlos Zambrano has joined the Phillies’ high Single-A affiliate in Clearwater and will start for the Thrashers tonight.

Zambrano signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies two weeks ago and with Roy Halladay and John Lannan both on the disabled list he definitely has an opportunity to get back to the majors relatively quickly.

Zambrano is still just 31 years old, but he had a 4.49 ERA and terrible 95/75 K/BB ratio in 132 innings for the Marlins last season, including a 6.60 ERA and more walks (46) than strikeouts (39) in his final 59 innings.

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.