O's Roberts still at least three weeks away

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brian roberts swinging.jpgOrioles second baseman Brian Roberts has been sidelined since April 9 — pretty much all season — with a strained abdominal muscle.  According to the Baltimore Sun, he “remains at least three weeks away from returning to the lineup, and that’s probably the best case scenario.”

“At this point, we just don’t really have a timetable yet,” Roberts said Sunday. “We’re continuing to do some physical therapy. I don’t know. It
could be three weeks from now, it could be three months from now.
Honestly, I don’t know.”

As of now, season-ending surgery is not an option.  But that could change.  The Orioles have started 6-18 this year without their spark plug and are buried in a star-studded American League East.  It makes no sense, then, for the O’s to rush Roberts back.  An ugly situation in Baltimore is only getting uglier.

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.