Reds’ Jared Burton already cleared for light rehab work

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Reds setup man Jared Burton opened the 2011 regular season on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation and underwent arthroscopic surgery on that same shoulder just this past week.

He is a long way from fully returning to a major league mound, but the right-handed reliever is making some amount of progress.

According to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burton has already been cleared to begin doing light rehab work and is aiming to return to the Cincinnati bullpen by July.

“It’s still pretty sore, but I’ve made a lot of progress in a week already,” Burton said Satruday. “I’ve really been pushing myself the first few days, and it’s made it a lot easier to get over that initial hump.”

Burton, 29, has a healthy 3.40 career ERA and 1.31 career WHIP across 158 major league relief appearances. He spent a majority of the 2010 season in the minors due to problems with arm fatigue.

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.