Jacoby Ellsbury leaves game after injuring right shoulder

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Jacoby Ellsbury left today’s game against the Rays in the fourth inning with his right arm dangling at his side after colliding with Reid Brignac while trying to break up a double play.

Ellsbury slid into second base, Brignac fell on top of him, and things didn’t look very good as the Red Sox center fielder walked off the field with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.

Ryan Sweeney replaced Ellsbury in the lineup, with Cody Ross shifting from right field to center field. And obviously losing Ellsbury for an extended period would be a huge blow to the Red Sox as they try to get on track following a 1-5 start.

(Screen shot via Jason Collette of Baseball Prospectus.)

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.