Lance Berkman receives cortisone shot in knee

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Lance Berkman headshot.jpgLance Berkman had his right knee drained for a fifth time and received a cortisone shot on Monday, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The 34-year-old first baseman underwent arthroscopic surgery last month, and after a series of recent setbacks, he doesn’t sound any closer to returning from the disabled list.

“My wife asked me that today and I think she’s tired of me moping around
the house,” Berkman said. “I have no idea [when I’ll return]. I really
wish I could tell you an accurate prediction of when I thought I would
be ready to go. It isn’t right this second, but I’m hopeful it will be
soon.”

The Astros, who were dominated by Tim Lincecum on Monday and have been held to just four hits on Tuesday thus far, will sorely miss his presence in the middle of the lineup. They’ve already went to the lengths of moving Pedro Feliz over to first base just to roll the dice with rookie Chris Johnson at third.

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.