X-rays on Derrek Lee's thumb come back negative

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derrek lee headshot cubs.jpgWe’ve had a rash of injury updates today. Here’s another one, via Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. Derrek Lee underwent precautionary X-rays on his right thumb after leaving Monday’s home opener against the Brewers.

“[Lee] hit a ball that jarred his finger a little bit so we got him out
of the ballgame,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “He had some swelling
in it.”

Lee originally suffered the injury last Wednesday against the Braves when he jammed his thumb into second base on a slide. Fortunately, the results were negative and he is currently listed as day-to-day.

The 34-year-old first baseman is 8-for-22 (.364) with one home run and four RBI to begin the new season. He just entered the final year of a five-year, $65 million extension with Chicago.

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.