Erik Bedard set to return from disabled list Friday

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We probably would have heard left-hander Erik Bedard mentioned in trade rumors this month, but the Mariners have had zero opportunity to showcase him due to a month-long absence with a knee injury.

It may be “too little, too late” to get something done before July 31, but Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Bedard will rejoin the Mariners’ starting rotation Friday night against the Rays. He was cleared to return after throwing 40 pitches in a simulated game Saturday.

While contenders will get a look at the veteran left-hander on Friday, Mariners manager Eric Wedge confirmed that Bedard will be on a pitch count.

“I’m not going to give you a pitch count, but we’ll have to pull him back a little bit,” Wedge said. “But he will be okay though.”

Bedard didn’t throw a pitch in the majors in 2010 due to shoulder problems, but has a 3.00 ERA and 85/26 K/BB ratio over 90 innings across 15 starts this season. It’s unlikely that he’ll be dealt with such a short turnaround before Sunday’s deadline, but he could a consideration in August if he continues to pitch well, and more importantly, remains healthy.

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.