UPDATE: OK, so apparently Matt Albers isn’t going to Japan

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UPDATE: So much for all that. I’m now told by a reliable source that it’s not true. Kind of a weirdly random thing for Mullen to report inaccurately, but oh well. Sorry to get everyone so excited by the huge non-news!

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Maureen Mullen reports that the Red Sox have released Matt Albers “to allow him to play in Japan.”

She adds that Boston “will receive an undisclosed sum of money” for cutting Albers loose, which is relatively standard for MLB-to-Japan moves and in this case presumably takes the Red Sox off the hook for the one-year, $875,000 deal he signed with them after being non-tendered by the Orioles in December.

Albers had a 4.62 ERA and poor 124/92 K/BB ratio in 193 innings spread over three years in Baltimore.

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.