Erik Bedard slated to make final rehab start tonight at Triple-A

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Erik Bedard could be making his final rehab start when he takes the mound tonight at Triple-A, with manager Don Wakamatsu saying the Mariners “are looking at starting him against Kansas City” next week.
Bedard will obviously have to avoid a setback with his surgically repaired shoulder and look decent in his final tune-up, but he pitched very well in his first two rehab outings and the Mariners no doubt want him in the rotation as soon as possible so they can give potential trade deadline bidders time to scout the left-hander.
While he’s become sort of a forgotten man because of all the arm problems, Bedard had a 2.82 ERA and 90/34 K/BB ratio in 83 innings for the Mariners last season and posted ERAs of 3.67, 3.16, and 3.76 in the previous three years. He’s clearly a major question mark, but if reasonably healthy Bedard is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter and teams that miss out on the likes of Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Dan Haren would be smart to take a flier on him if the Mariners’ asking price is reasonable.

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.