Red Sox sign Vicente Padilla to minor-league contract

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Nothing is official yet, but Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports that the Red Sox have agreed to terms with right-hander Vicente Padilla and Alex Speier of WEEI.com says it’s a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Padilla missed nearly all of last season following neck surgery and worked strictly as a reliever for the Dodgers when healthy enough to take the mound, but it’s unclear which role he’ll fill for the Red Sox.

He could compete with fellow minor-league signings like Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva for the fifth spot in the rotation or be viewed as a late-inning bullpen option if Daniel Bard sticks as a starter.

Padilla has had a ton of trouble staying healthy over the years, but has typically been a solid mid-rotation starter when not on the disabled list and also has a 4.15 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 113 career innings as a reliever.

And as we learned last week, no matter which role Padillla winds up in he’ll be “erect, proud, shining, and solid.”

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.