Carlos Zambrano out for a month with strained shoulder

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Carlos Zambrano exited his last Triple-A start with a shoulder injury and the Phillies announced that he’ll be sidelined for a month after an MRI exam revealed a lat strain.

Zambrano’s minor-league contract with the Phillies had a July 1 opt-out date, but that’s out the window now and if Zambrano has to slowly build back his arm strength following the month off he might not be an option for the Phillies until September, if at all.

Zambrano had a 2.04 ERA in seven starts in the minors, but his 30/17 K/BB ratio in 35 innings was far less impressive and he was mostly working in the high-80s with his fastball.

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.