Alex Gordon to begin season on disabled list

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Alex Gordon broke his right thumb on March 6 and manager Trey Hillman admitted yesterday that the Royals’ third baseman will begin the season on the disabled list.
Gordon initially received a recovery timetable of 3-4 weeks, which gave him some chance to be ready for Opening Day, but Hillman explained that “it’s not going to happen” because the Royals don’t want to “force it” and risk setting him back even further:

No. 1, it’s unfair to him to rush something like this. I’m sure he’s tough enough to endure the pain of it. That’s not the issue. It’s a matter of re-injuring the thumb if we try to get in the reps that he needs to get to break with the major-league team.

Alberto Callaspo will replace Gordon at third base and may also bat third in the Royals’ lineup after hitting .300/.356/.457 with 11 homers and 60 total extra-base hits in 155 games last season.
Prior to Gordon’s injury Callaspo was battling Chris Getz for the starting job at second base and the team wasn’t exactly thrilled with his defense there, so the broken thumb keeps the Royals from potentially benching their second-best hitter from a season ago.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.