Melky Cabrera has a tumor removed from his spine

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The Associated Press is reporting that Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera had a benign tumor removed from his spine on August 30. He had already been shut down since the beginning of the month due to an issue with the meniscus in his left knee.

Cabrera was having a comparatively poor 2013 campaign after a career year with the Giants last season in which he hit .346 with a .906 OPS. He signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Blue Jays during the off-season, surprisingly low for someone who hit as well as he did, but he brought with him some question marks as he had been suspended for 50 games in August last season. He avoided further punishment from Major League Baseball for his involvement with Biogenesis.

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.