In an effort to keep Evan Longoria in the lineup and off the disabled list after aggravating the plantar fasciitis in his right foot the Rays will use the third baseman at designated hitter.
Longoria missed three games with a tear in his foot, returning Tuesday at DH, and told Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune:
If I can be in the lineup and be effective offensively, then that’s, obviously, more important than trying to do two things at once and not being able to do either one of them effectively. I’m happy at where I’m at considering the circumstances. Happy that I’m at least able to be in the lineup. We’ll take it day-by-day as far as where we are playing the field.
Not exactly encouraging words, although he’s certainly right that Longoria at DH is better than Longoria on the DL. Kelly Johnson and Ryan Roberts figure to split time at third base and using Longoria at DH means less playing time for Luke Scott.
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.