Utley underwent MRI on right knee Saturday

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From Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly comes word that second baseman Chase Utley underwent an MRI on his right knee Saturday.

The test showed no structural damage, but Utley is battling patellar tendinitis and won’t play in the Phillies’ first handful of Grapefruit League games.

The Phillies are also going to limit the amount of running and fielding drills that he participates in for the next week, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Utley, 32, played in only 115 games last season, but that was because of a thumb injury. This new knee issue should blow over with several days of rest and rehab. He was not administered a cortisone or lubricant shot and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. didn’t sound all that concerned when he addressed the matter on Sunday morning in camp.

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.