Rangers prospect Tanner Scheppers makes one appearance between disabled list stints

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Tanner Scheppers was considered a top-20 talent who dropped to the Rangers with the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft because of an arm injury, but now back problems are slowing his rise to the majors.

Scheppers began the season on the disabled list at Triple-A with back problems, came off the shelf to make one appearance, and has now been returned to the DL with the same injury.

Scheppers racked up 90 strikeouts between Double-A and Triple-A last season and if healthy the hard-throwing right-hander has a good chance to join the Rangers’ bullpen at some point this season.

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.