Ryan Howard could get a cortisone shot for sore ankle

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Ryan Howard, who was in an 0-for-15 slump before coming off the bench and delivering a game-winning double in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader, says his sore left ankle continues to bother him and he might get a cortisone shot.

It sounds as though Howard would prefer to just have the one cortisone shot, so he might choose to play through the pain for now and then get the injection prior to the start of the postseason.  It’s not as though the Phillies need him at his best right now.

Besides, even with that 0-for-15, Howard is hitting .255/.397/.553 with four homers and 10 RBI in 47 at-bats this month.  It looks like he’ll finish this year with the lowest OPS of his career — he’s at .831 right now — but he’s leading the majors with 113 RBI anyway.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.