Rays to activate catcher John Jaso from disabled list Friday

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Tampa Bay has today off and they’ll have John Jaso back in the lineup when they return to action tomorrow, as Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the catcher will come off the disabled list.

Jaso has been out since July 9 with an oblique injury, leaving Kelly Shoppach and rookie Robinson Chirinos to split time behind the plate in his absence.

Chirinos will be optioned back to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Jaso, who’ll likely resume getting most of the starts while platooning with the right-handed-hitting Shoppach.

Jaso hit just .222 with a .639 OPS in 65 games before landing on the DL, but batted .263 with a .372 on-base percentage and .750 OPS in 109 games as a rookie last season.

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.