Royals sticking with .184-hitting rookie Mike Moustakas

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Several of the prospects called up by the Royals this season are playing well, but Mike Moustakas isn’t one of them.

Moustakas has hit just .184 with one homer and a .473 OPS in 51 games since being called up in mid-June, but manager Ned Yost explained to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that the Royals are sticking with the 22-year-old third baseman:

He’s playing spectacular defense at third base. So, he’ll figure it out here. You go through these things. That’s why we brought him up now. So he could go through it now. It’s what we keep talking about. These kids all go through this. This is nothing new. He’s good enough that he’ll figure it out.

I think that’s absolutely the right approach for a rebuilding to team to take with a top prospect and former first-round pick, although it would have been nice if the Royals had shown similar patience with Alex Gordon in past seasons.

Moustakas will probably wind up pushing his overall OPS above .500 by season’s end, but if not he’ll become the first 22-year-old to play at least 50 games and post a sub-.500 OPS since Luis Ordaz for the Cardinals in 1998. Ordaz went on to play just 136 more games after 1998 and 126 of them were for the Royals.

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.