Insurance to cover “about half” of Victor Martinez’s salary

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Victor Martinez underwent microfracture knee surgery yesterday and is slated to undergo another surgery to repair his torn ACL in 6-8 weeks, leaving no doubt that he’ll miss the entire season.

According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com the Tigers’ insurance policy on Martinez’s four-year, $50 million contract is “expected to cover about half of the $13 million he has coming this year.”

That’s a nice chunk of change, obviously, but that still leaves the Tigers paying $6-7 million for Martinez to do nothing this season and the $6-7 million they’ll get from the insurance company barely makes a dent in the $23 million Prince Fielder will get in 2012 to basically replace him in the lineup.

And then Martinez is owed $13 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014, while Fielder will get $23 million in 2013 and $24 million in 2014 (plus $24 million each year from 2015-2020).

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.