Back still sore, Placido Polanco won’t return Wednesday

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From Jay Greenberg of MLB.com comes word that Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco has experienced renewed back soreness after trying to take batting practice the past two days.

Polanco has been sidelined since July 4 with a bulging disk. He tried to play down the severity of the injury at first, not landing on the disabled list until July 15, but it seems now that he’s coming to grips with the fact that he must rest. The Phillies are said to be doubtful that the 35-year-old will feel well enough to be activated Wednesday, the first day he’s eligible.

“It’s sore,” Polanco said. “It might be just because I hadn’t hit for three days and that’s the reason. I don’t know. I’m not going to hit [Sunday] — let it calm down and see how it feels.”

The 14-year veteran is batting .274/.331/.346 with 11 doubles and four homers in 83 games this season. Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez have been sharing starting duties at the hot corner 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.