Matt Moore “back to normal” after abdominal strain

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Rays left-hander Matt Moore was sidelined for over a week due to an abdominal strain that he suffered during a fielding drill. But that’s all in the past now.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Moore tossed a free and easy bullpen session on Saturday in Rays camp and told reporters shortly after the workout that he felt “real good.”

“It was like back to normal,” added the 22-year-old.

Moore is a near-lock for a starting rotation spot this season in Tampa Bay after registering a dominant 1.92 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 210/46 K/BB ratio across 155 innings last year between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. He eventually climbed his way to the major leagues in September and was even trusted with a start in the ALDS against the Rangers, in which he hurled seven scoreless frames.

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.