Nationals place Mike Morse on the disabled list

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morse hugging.JPGThe Nationals placed outfielder Mike Morse on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a left calf injury, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson.

Morse had been making a push for the starting right field job in Washington until he was injured Thursday while going after a fly ball.  He’s 1-for-6 on the year, as it stands, with no walks and three strikeouts.

Willie Harris and Willy Taveras are expected to platoon in right for at least the next two weeks, and perhaps longer.  The Nationals aren’t overly concerned about Morse’s injury, but it’s tough for an outfielder to shake off a calf injury with so much ground to cover.  That said, the 28-year-old should be back during the month of May.

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.