According to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MLB announced this afternoon that Twins prospect second baseman Eddie Rosario has been suspended 50 games for his second positive test for a drug of abuse.
Word of a possible suspension for Rosario leaked out earlier this offseason, though a previous report from Puerto Rico said that it was because of performance-enhancing drugs, not a drug of abuse. He also claimed that the positive test was the result of him taking pills to treat an arm injury. Rosario was expected to appeal his suspension, but today’s announcement means that he lost his case and will miss the first 50 games of the 2014 season.
Rosario, 22, hit .302/.350/.460 with 10 home runs and 73 RBI over 122 games last season between High-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain. A converted outfielder, he’s considered one of the Twins’ top position prospects.
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.