Frank Francisco has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews

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Often when a pitcher travels to Dr. James Andrews’ office is Alabama for an examination the next news is announcement that arm surgery is needed, but in Frank Francisco’s case his visit to Dr. Andrews is for a sore right pectoral muscle.

That doesn’t mean he won’t need surgery, of course, but an MRI exam showed no structural damage over the weekend and manager John Farrell expressed optimism that the injury will prove minor, telling Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com:

I think more than anything this is to give us as much information as possible to give him peace of mind and just make sure there’s nothing in there. We have every reason to believe there isn’t, to date, because of the MRI we’ve received, so there’s no structural issues. But we just want to be sure we do the right thing by Frankie and get him checked out by Dr. Andrews.

Octavio Dotel is also sidelined by a hamstring injury, so if the season were starting today the Blue Jays’ closer would likely be Jon Rauch, who held his own as the Twins’ closer for much of last year.

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.