Brandon Webb told to lower arm slot following shoulder surgery

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Out since last Opening Day with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery in August, Brandon Webb said yesterday that the past five months of rehab have “been almost wasting my time” because he was “throwing bad.”
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Webb met recently with a specialist at the rehab facility connected to Dr. James Andrews’ practice in Alabama and was told his arm slot is too high and needs changing before he can get healthy again. Or as Webb put it: “I have to retain.”
Webb “was hooked up to motion-sensing technology that helped illustrate to him that his arm slot is far too high” and “far higher than how he pitched before surgery.” Webb said he made the change “trying to protect myself going up there, but it’s actually doing the exact opposite.”
The good news is that he’s had no recent setbacks in terms of the actual injury, but Webb won’t be throwing off a mound until he’s fully comfortable with the new, lower arm slot. Arizona is in last place at 17-24 and Webb is an impending free agent making $8.5 million in the final season of his contract, so by the time he’s ready to return there may not be much to play for aside from his next deal.

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.