Charlie Manuel wants a hitter and a reliever

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Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has revealed his Christmas list early, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports.

“We definitely could use a reliever, without a doubt,” Manuel said Monday. “But we also could use a bat.”

Manuel, though, doesn’t want GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade.

“I’m talking about a good one,” he said. “If we’re going to get somebody, I want somebody good that will help us. I don’t want someone we’ve already got. We could use a good hitter.”

If Manuel wants a starter, that wouldn’t seem to bode too well for rookie Domonic Brown.  No one else in Philadelphia’s lineup is at all likely to be supplanted in a trade.  Raul Ibanez might actually be the Phillies’ weakest link, but it’s doubtful he’ll be replaced.

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.