Cliff Lee throws without pain; return to action still uncertain

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The good news is that Cliff Lee completed a 55-pitch throwing session yesterday without any of the pain in his abdomen that he had last week. The bad news is that neither Lee or the Mariners yet know when he can return and actually pitch in a game.

In a chat yesterday the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker said that Lee wouldn’t be back “until May.”  Given the good report from the throwing session, one would figure that to be the outside of things.

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.