Grady Sizemore out 8-12 weeks following back surgery

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When the Indians told reporters that they’d have an update on Grady Sizemore’s health status today Jordan Bastian of MLB.com immediately tweeted that it “sounds ominous” and … well, he was right.

Sizemore, who was already expected to miss Opening Day because of a back injury suffered three weeks ago, underwent micro discectomy surgery on his lower back and now will miss at least 8-12 weeks.

Given his lengthy injury history it’s tough to imagine Sizemore making a speedy recovery and returning 12 weeks from today would mean early June. Not exactly what the Indians had in mind when they declined his $8 million option and then re-signed Sizemore for $5 million, although they’re reasonably well-equipped to handle his absence (and certainly used to it by now) with Michael Brantley shifting from left field to center field.

And between Grady’s back surgery and Scott’s torn ACL this has been a very tough week for Sizemores.

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.