Jose Contreras expected to miss 3-4 weeks with elbow strain

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According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced earlier tonight that Jose Contreras is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a Grade 1 strain of his right elbow. The diagnosis was made following an MRI in Philadelphia earlier today.

“It’s a very mild strain,” Amaro said. “Obviously you never want to see someone go on the disabled list, but this is good news for us. It’s better than the alternative.”

Contreras will be shut down for seven to 10 days before beginning a throwing program.

The veteran right-hander was placed on the disabled list Sunday after complaining of soreness in his elbow following a 26-pitch appearance last Thursday against the Padres. It was his fifth outing in the span of seven days. Ryan Madson is expected to handle save chances in his absence.

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.