Rockies ink Joe Crede to a minor league contract

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Joe Crede is back in action.

After sitting out for all of the 2010 season in recovery from back surgery, the veteran third baseman inked a minor league contract on Wednesday afternoon with the Rockies.  This according to the club’s official Twitter feed.

The deal also comes with an invitation to spring training, where Crede will attempt to land a spot on Colorado’s Opening Day roster.  It’s a longshot, but if he is truly rehabbed and can muster some decent power numbers in Cactus League play, maybe luck will be on his side.  After all, he’s only 32 years old.

Crede appeared in just 90 games in 2009 for the Twins, but he hit 15 home runs.  He played in only 97 games in 2008 for the White Sox, but he again showed good power with 17 home runs.  He was always pretty sharp defensively and could operate as a backup for injury-prone third baseman Ian Stewart out in Colorado.  Coors Field tends to be quite friendly to hitters attempting to rediscover their power stroke.

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.