Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann ready to return for Rays

Leave a comment

The Rays lost starters Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann on the same day in early August and in the middle of their ongoing hunt for the American League East crown.  Today the East is all tied up, with the Yanks and Rays sharing a .616 winning percentage, and both Davis and Niemann are projected to return right on time.

Davis threw a simulated game this weekend, according to MLB.com’s Bill Chastain, and has been cleared to start Tuesday night’s game against the Angels.

Niemann also threw a simulated game over the weekend and is expected to return from the disabled list for Wednesday’s series finale.

Davis, 24, has turned in an impressive 2010 season despite constant pressure from ready-to-soar prospect Jeremy Hellickson and a rough June that saw him go 0-5 with a 6.00 ERA.  The right-handed Davis has not registered a loss since June 27 and carved up some pretty tough lineups in the month of July.  He should finish August strong and help carry the Rays through September.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
4 Comments

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.