This could be fun: Astros manager Brad Mills said yesterday that Carlos Lee could begin seeing some time at first base. Which, if you’re gonna play the guy, is probably a better bet than playing him in the outfield, where he’s defensive disaster. Sure, the Astros just got Brett Wallace from Toronto, but he probably can’t be expected to step in as the everyday guy for the rest of the season.
Still, the Astros are ignoring the easy solution here: activate their hitting coach. I bet you $100 that he would out-perform Carlos Lee for the remainder of the season, even if he never took the bat off his shoulder.
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.