New Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo will make his minor league debut Sunday

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According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, new Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo will make his professional debut tomorrow in Game Two of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League championship series.

This will actually be Castillo’s first game action since his final season in Cuba in 2012. The Red Sox considered having him make his debut today in Tampa so that Red Sox manager John Farrell and his coaching staff could attend, however they ultimately decided to ease him into things for a game at Fort Myers, which is where he has spent most of the week.

Castillo, who landed a record seven-year, $72.5 million contract, is expected to play about three innings in his debut. The minor league season is wrapping up, but the Red Sox have other affiliates in the postseason, so the 27-year-old should see more game action in the coming days. He’s expected to make his way to the major league roster at some point in September.

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.