Is career-high workload catching up to Jered Weaver?

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Jered Weaver has turned in back-to-back ugly starts, allowing 13 runs in 11 innings while his ERA rose from 2.03 to 2.49, but manager Mike Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that “his arm feels good” and there are no physical issues to blame.

Weaver is on pace for a career-high 238 innings, but it’s not that far above last season’s total of 224 innings. DiGiovanna notes that Weaver ranks second in the majors in pitches thrown behind only Justin Verlander, but his 3,815-pitch pace is only about three percent above last year’s total of 3,713 pitches.

“He wasn’t as crisp and his fastball command was off, but he has enough gas in his tank to finish the season strong,” Scioscia said. “In talking with him, his arm feels good. Sometimes you’re going to be out of sorts.”

Adding to the scrutiny is that Weaver signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension on August 23. He’s scheduled to start Friday against the Yankees, so if Weaver isn’t at full strength New York’s lineup should make it pretty obvious.

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.