Morneau is taking batting practice, feeling good

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I have no idea what I’d be doing if I was a Twins fan these days. Probably freaking out a lot, knowing that the season could very well hinge on Justin Morneau’s recovery from the least understood malady affecting athletes this side of the yips.  Unfortunately, the placebo effect of tapping various parts of one’s body and focusing on positive energy isn’t enough to bring a guy back from a brain injury.

Fortunately, Joe Christensen has some good news: Morneau has been working out and swinging a bat in the past week or so with no problems reported. He says he’s happy with his progress.

Like all of the other reports we’ve read about Morneau, this one is couched in caution, but you gotta take the positive wherever you can find it.

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.