Jerry Hairston blames broken wrist on late-afternoon start time

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UPDATE: So much for avoiding the DL. Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that Hairston will indeed be put on the shelf and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.

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Jerry Hairston Jr. suffered what the Nationals are calling a “small break” in his left wrist when he was hit by a Dan Haren pitch during yesterday afternoon’s game, but the veteran utility man hopes to play through the injury.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Hairston will be examined today by a doctor, so he may end up not having much choice in the matter if a disabled list stint is advised.

Hairston blamed the late-afternoon start time for the injury, explaining how tough it is to pick up the baseball coming out of a pitcher’s hand because of shadows:

Somebody’s going to get really, really hurt. He could have hit my head. Really difficult to pick up the ball, so it’s going to take something serious to change. I’ve got a broken wrist. It could have been way worse. What if he hit me in the face? It’s just terrible. It’s irresponsible. Maybe they think they draw another 5,000 or so, I don’t know, it’s just terrible. The pitchers at this level are too good.

Hairston has played 14 seasons in the majors, so he’d know better than most, but 4:00 pm start times for games are hardly rare and there isn’t a rash of plunkings stemming from them.

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.