Gerrit Cole is back on the disabled list

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Friday’s start was Gerrit Cole’s third outing since returning from a disabled list stint for shoulder fatigue, but he exited after five innings with a strained lat muscle and is now back on the shelf.

Cole described the current injury as “something completely different” than what put him on the DL last month, and it’s especially frustrating because he’d thrown five shutout innings before leaving the start.

Because of the All-Star break it’s possible that Cole will miss just one turn in the rotation, although the Pirates figure to be pretty cautious with their 23-year-old former No. 1 overall pick. Triple-A right-hander Brandon Cumpton will step into Cole’s rotation spot after posting a 4.61 ERA in nine starts for the Pirates earlier this season.

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.