Phillies acquire Hunter Pence from Astros

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10:00 p.m EDT update: CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury confirms the deal, with the Phillies giving up Singleton, Cosart, pitching prospect Josh Reid and a fourth player still to be determined for Pence.

9:00 p.m. EDT update: Rosenthal reports that the Astros will get first baseman Jonathan Singleton, right-hander Jarred Cosart and two players to be named in return for Pence.  Rosenthal says the PTNBs will not be major prospects, which would seem to rule out May.

8:50 p.m. EDT update: Rosenthal is now reporting that the Phillies are close to a deal for Pence and that it’s expected to be completed tonight.  No word yet on the properties involved, but the Astros were believed to be asking for 1B Jonathan Singleton, RHP Jarred Cosart and RHP Trevor May.

7:42 p.m. EDT update: FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal just tweeted that the Phillies and Astros are “progressing toward” a Pence deal. More as it comes in.

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Because we here at HardballTalk are all Phillies, all of the time.

SI.com’s Jon Heyman just tweeted that Hunter Pence is “very likely to be moved now” and that it appears the Phillies are favored, with the Indians, Red Sox and Reds also in the mix.

Meanwhile, FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Phillies “remain active in talks” for San Diego’s available relievers, but that they prefer Mike Adams to Heath Bell.

Bell had already created one of the crazier rumors of the day, in which the Padres were supposedly asking for left-hander Derek Holland and top shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar in return for Bell.  We didn’t put much stock in that one, though.  The Rangers woudn’t give up Profar alone for Bell, and it’d be a surprise if they parted with Holland in such a trade.

Bell is also believed to be a target of the Cardinals.

We’ve gone over the Pence stuff time and time again, but it’s worth noting that ESPN’s Buster Olney recently reported that the Phillies have no intention of parting with Domonic Brown in a Pence trade, whether it’s a two- or a three-team deal.

The Astros, who reportedly aren’t as high on Brown as some, are believed to have asked for the Phillies’ best position prospect (Jonathan Singleton) and their two best pitching prospects (Jarred Cosart and Trevor May) in a Pence deal.

Update: ESPN’s Jayson Stark has multiple sources telling him that there’s no more talk of a three-team deal that would bring Pence to Philadelphia.  If it happens, it’ll just be the two teams.

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.