Phillies activate Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list

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Less than 48 hours ago manager Charlie Manuel was quoted as saying that Carlos Ruiz was “four or five days” away from rejoining the Phillies, but the catcher was just activated from the disabled list for tonight’s game.

Ruiz returns after missing the past month with a hamstring injury and he’s played just 16 games all season due to the injury and his earlier 25-game suspension.

Backup catcher Erik Kratz is out following knee surgery, so the Phillies were splitting catching duties between Humberto Quintero and Steve LeRud. Which might explain why they were willing to rush Ruiz back a few days early.

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.