Roy Oswalt likely to make Rockies debut Thursday

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Six weeks after signing Roy Oswalt to a minor-league contract the Rockies look ready to add him to their rotation, with Troy Renck of the Denver Post reporting that a Thursday debut seems likely for the 35-year-old right-hander.

Oswalt made five starts in the minors, throwing 33 innings with a 2.16 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio at Double-A, where he was just named the Texas League pitcher of the week. He held opponents to a .211 batting average, but did serve up five homers in five starts.

Oswalt’s most recent outing was 8.1 innings of shutout ball Friday with seven strikeouts versus one walk. If he does start Thursday for the Rockies it’ll be against the Nationals, in Washington.

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.