Jason Bay scheduled to return from disabled list Thursday

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General manager Sandy Alderson said last week that Jason Bay wouldn’t be returning from the disabled list before April 26, but apparently the Mets have changed their mind and now he’s scheduled to come back from a strained ribcage muscle Thursday.

He’ll have to avoid a setback first while playing minor-league rehab games tomorrow and Wednesday, and he’ll do so at high Single-A in Florida because the Mets don’t want him dealing with the colder weather at Double-A or Triple-A.

Bay hasn’t played a big-league game since suffering a concussion on July 25. During that time the Mets are just 34-45 and his replacements in left field so far this season have hit just .233 with one homer and a .690 OPS in 16 games. Bay batted .259 with six homers and a .749 OPS in 95 games before the concussion ended his disappointing first season in New York.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.