Strasburg throws in bullpen, cleared for Tuesday return

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg passed his final test Saturday and has been cleared to return from the disabled list for a start Tuesday against the Marlins.  He threw a bullpen session under the watch of pitching coach Steve McCatty, and the young phenom reported no pain or discomfort in his throwing arm.

Nats manager Jim Riggleman told the Associated Press that Strasburg will be on a loose 90-pitch limit in his return, which makes plenty of sense.

“I’m not really looking for him to go out there for the seventh inning,”
Riggleman said before Saturday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. “If we
were to get six innings out of him, that would be a huge step. If he got
five, that would be a good number to build on for his next one.”

Strasburg, of course, was mowing batters down before complaining of discomfort in his shoulder before his July 28 start.  Through 51.1 innings and nine starts this season, he’s posted a 5-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts.

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.