Brett Lawrie is back on the disabled list once again, this time due to an oblique strain, but it’s not all bad news on the injury front for the Blue Jays.
According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said this afternoon that slugger Edwin Encarnacion “may” begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend. The 31-year-old has been sidelined since July 5 with a right quad strain and suffered a minor setback late last month, but Anthoupoulos expects him to rejoin the Blue Jays by the end of next week if all goes well. It’s even possible he could return a bit sooner. Good news.
Even though Encarnacion has missed a month, he still ranks third in the American League with 26 homers and ninth with 70 RBI. He’s batting .277/.368/.491 overall this season.
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.