Guillen 'almost died' last year due to blood clots

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guillen swinging.JPGJose Guillen is off to an alarming start this year, with a .361/.410/.861 batting line and five home runs through 36 at-bats.  But life wasn’t always so sweet. 

The Royals outfielder told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he “almost died” last year due to blood clots in both of his legs:

“I had to stay in St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City for 20 days (in
the offseason) just lying in bed,” said Guillen.  “My legs were so big, so swollen
up. They were purple. I couldn’t even walk on them. I couldn’t feel my
legs. … I went to the hospital, and I was crying because I couldn’t
feel my leg. I was thinking, ‘What’s going on here?'”

Former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas died from a similar blood clot issue 10 years ago after being paralyzed in a car crash and Guillen’s Kansas City-based doctors were worried for a bit that Jose might meet the same fate.  Luckily, he made it through the trying process and is making a big splash in 2010 — a contract year for the 33-year-old.

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.