Edinson Volquez dominates in final rehab start

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The Reds may have missed the boat on Cliff Lee, but they are just about to get Edinson Volquez back from the disabled list.

Volquez dominated in his final rehab start with Triple-A Louisville on Friday night, allowing just one-hit over seven innings of shutout ball. He tossed 61 out of 102 pitches for strikes while fanning nine, walking three and hitting a batter. According to Jeff Robinson of the Courier-Journal, Volquez touched the upper 90s on the radar gun.

“Tonight was a strong outing, and I think I’m ready to go,” Volquez
said. “I’ve been out for nearly one year, and it’s time to go back. I’m
excited to go back to a team that is in a pennant race.”

Volquez, who underwent Tommy John surgery last August, compiled a 1.45 ERA over six rehab starts between High-A Lynchburg and Triple-A Louisville, posting a 28/8 K/BB ratio in 31 innings.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Volquez will be in the rotation immediately after the All-Star break, though the Reds have yet to decide which game he will start.

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.