The Red Sox are interested in Matt Garza

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I’m struggling to recall the last time we heard something from Phil Rogers’ Sunday “Whispers” column that was both (a) juicy; and (b) actually happened, but this one at least has (a) covered:  The Red Sox are reportedly interested in Matt Garza. Rogers says that Garza is “high on the list.”

Which makes sense. Garza’s strikeout rate is way up from a year ago.  Blame some crappy defense behind him in Chicago and some bad luck for his record and ERA, but he’s still a fine pitcher who would be an awesome fit for a contender. But of course, the stuff that makes him so awesome — his stuff and, most especially the fact that he’s under team control for two and a half more years — makes it really unlikely that the Cubs would want to trade him.

So maybe he’s high on the Red Sox’ list of targets, but I can’t think of a reason why he’s be anywhere on the Cubs’ radar as trade fodder.

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.