Buster Posey aiming to take batting practice and run the bases in early February

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Time for another update on Buster Posey’s recovery from the broken leg that ended his sophomore season on May 25.

Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that Posey has now progressed to 30- and 60-yard sprints along with additional agility drills and “mild distance running.”

Posey has yet to go through live batting practice and isn’t yet cleared to run the bases, but Giants trainer Dave Groeschner said that the former Rookie of the Year will advance to baseball activities by early next month, adding: “For January 9 he’s doing pretty well.”

Barring any major setbacks Posey seems likely to be ready for Opening Day, but that’s certainly far from guaranteed. San Francisco re-signed Eli Whiteside to a minor-league contract and he’ll compete with Hector Sanchez and Chris Stewart to back up (and potentially fill in for) Posey.

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.