George Springer back in Astros’ lineup Wednesday

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Astros outfielder George Springer sat out Monday and Tuesday due to soreness in his right knee, but he is back in the Houston starting lineup on Wednesday night and told MLB.com beat reporter Brian McTaggart that he feels completely “good to go.”

“I always try to snake my way in there no matter what,” Springer said of his two-day absence. “Obviously, I have the utmost respect for [Astros manager Bo Porter] and the decisions he makes. He’s obviously doing it my best interest. He told me [to sit] and I said, ‘OK, I’ll get it checked out.'”

The 24-year-old budding star boasts an .843 OPS with 12 home runs and 35 RBI through his first 48 games at the major league level.

He is batting second and playing right field on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks.

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.