Jason Heyward leaves game with strained right hamstring

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Troubling development for the first-place Braves, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Jason Heyward left tonight’s game against the Reds with a strained right hamstring.

After reaching on an infield single with two outs in the second inning, Heyward was advancing to third base on a single by Justin Upton before he hurt himself on a slide into the bag. The 23-year-old outfielder grabbed at his hamstring while laying on the ground before eventually getting to his feet and walking off under his own power. He’s scheduled to be reevaluated tomorrow, but it certainly looked like something that could require a trip to the disabled list.

Heyward has had a disappointing first half, batting .223/.321/.367 with seven home runs and 21 RBI in 67 games. He was previously sidelined from April 21-May 16 following an emergency appendectomy. Losing Heyward for any length of time hurts, but the Braves are slated to get both Evan Gattis and Jordan Schafer back from the disabled list right after the All-Star break.

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.