Indians first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hand contusion. Encarnacion was lifted in the first inning of Friday’s 1-0 loss to the White Sox and there was some concern that he might have sustained a left biceps injury, but an MRI failed to uncover anything substantial.
The bruise on his right hand, meanwhile, dates back to a hit-by-pitch on July 15. While Encarnacion has been receiving treatment for the bruise, manager Terry Francona pointed out that he’s also been overcompensating for his lack of mobility (as Encarnacion himself put it, he’s “swinging with one hand,” which could very well aggravate a more serious injury) and could use the extra time to rest and rehabilitate before the club makes its final push for the postseason this fall. The 35-year-old slugger has slashed just .229/.317/.461 with 25 home runs and a .778 OPS in 442 PA this year.
In a corresponding move, infielder Yandy Diaz has been called up from Triple-A Columbus to take Encarnacion’s spot on the roster. Diaz, 26, has seen just four games at the major-league level in 2018, during which he went 7-for-14 with a triple and two RBI. He’s impressed at the Triple-A level too, batting .293/.409/.388 with 27 extra-base hits and 40 RBI in 426 PA.
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.