Ian Kinsler cleared to resume baseball activities

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Ian Kinsler was cleared to resume baseball activities Tuesday after an MRI showed significant improvement with his strained left groin, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Kinsler took batting practice and ran sprints in the outfield Tuesday. He’s expecting to ramp up his workouts as the week continues, but a rehab assignment is not imminent.

“I need to take my time to get into shape,” Kinsler said. “I don’t want
to pull a hamstring because I’m not in shape. I want to make sure my
body is ready to go.”

Kinsler told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he doesn’t anticipate returning from the disabled list until before or on September 1, so we’re probably still looking at about another week before he is back. Kinsler has been sidelined since July 27 due to the injury.  

One benefit of having an 8 1/2 game lead in the American League West? He can take all the time he needs.

On a related note, the Rangers purchased the contract of Alex Cora from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday and designated Joaquin Arias for assignment.

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.