Luke Scott’s deal with Rays worth $6 million, with team option for 2013

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Luke Scott and the Rays have finalized their one-year deal.

He’ll get $5 million in 2012 and the contract also includes a $6 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2013, which officially makes it a one-year, $6 million deal. There are also some undisclosed incentives built in that could raise the maximum value to $13 million for two years.

Shoulder problems that eventually required surgery limited him to just 64 ineffective games last season, but Scott hit .284 with 27 homers and a .902 OPS in 2010 and carries a very solid .843 career OPS.

He’s a good bounce-back candidate and if healthy would provide a much-needed boost to the middle of the Rays’ lineup, but $6 million in guaranteed money isn’t a particularly huge bargain for a 33-year-old first baseman/designated hitter who won’t be cleared to play the outfield until at least May or June.

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.