Roy Oswalt completes four-inning Triple-A rehab start

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Todd Zolecki of MLB.com passes along word that Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt allowed just one hit (a home run) over four innings Wednesday in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Oswalt threw 72 pitches, 41 of which were strikes. He walked two batters but struck out four.

The veteran right-hander is expected to make just one more rehab appearance before rejoining the Phillies’ starting rotation sometime in early August. He was placed on the disabled list June 24 with tightness in his troublesome lower back.

Oswalt, 33, had a 3.79 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 42/18 K/BB ratio this season through 71 1/3 innings (13 starts).

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.