Indians “making progress” in talks with Kevin Millwood

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Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports this morning that the Indians are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Kevin Millwood. Indians CEO Paul Dolan would have to approve the signing if it’s a major league deal.

We heard the other day that Millwood was looking for $4-5 million, but that seems highly unlikely. The 36-year-old right-hander went 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA over 31 starts with the Orioles last season.

On the bright side, Millwood has logged at least 190 innings in each of the last two seasons and would likely benefit with a return to the pitcher-friendly Progressive Field. Remember, he led the American League with a 2.86 ERA as a member of the Indians back in 2005.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com notes that the possible addition of Millwood could impact the market for right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, who has also been connected to the Indians in recent weeks.

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.