Josh Johnson may or may not be available

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Is he or isn’t he? As with most rumors during this “silly season,” it depends on who you ask.



John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus wrote on Friday that he keeps hearing that the Marlins are “very willing” to trade Josh Johnson “right now” for the right package. Hours later, Joe Frisaro, who covers the Marlins for MLB.com, advised not to buy into the speculation that Johnson is available. Then, this morning, in a report for ESPN.com Buster Olney (requires Insider subscription) spoke with some rival executives who said that the Marlins have not yet informed teams that Johnson is not available.



Rest assured, we haven’t heard the last of this.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.