Nationals place Rick Ankiel on disabled list with sprained wrist

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The Nationals placed center fielder Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right wrist following last night’s win over the Marlins.

Ankiel hasn’t played since since jamming his wrist while attempting to make some diving catches in the outfield during Monday’s game against the Giants.

An MRI on Ankiel’s wrist came back negative, but Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that they couldn’t go short-handed on their bench any longer.

“He just is not feeling well enough to hit, and we’re just so short-handed,” Riggleman said. “Morse is kind of limping around. We just can’t continue to go a man short. We just got to get a healthy body and let Rick Ankiel get healthy.”

Ankiel, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract over the winter, is batting .221/.302/.288 with one home run, seven RBI and a .590 OPS over his first 118 plate appearances this season, including a .203 clip over 74 at-bats against right-handed pitching.

Roger Bernadina was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to replace Ankiel on the active roster and has a legitimate chance to take away the starting center field job.

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.