Rain kept Manny Machado off of the field on Friday night in his first rehab start, but it didn’t keep him out of the lineup. As the DH for the Frederick Keys as they took on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Machado went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple. Not a bad start.
Machado, recovering from surgery on his left knee, will play third base Saturday afternoon against the Carolina Mudcats. As long as he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, Machado could rejoin the Orioles next weekend. Jonathan Schoop has been filling in for Machado at third base, but could still stay on the roster given his positive contributions in the first four weeks of games.
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.