Daisuke Matsuzaka goes four-plus in second rehab start

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More progress for Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka.

According to Dan Hickling of the Boston Globe, the Japanese right-hander allowed just one earned run over 4 2/3 innings Saturday for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. It was his second minor league rehab start, and he reported no issues whatsoever with his surgically-repaired right elbow.

Matsuzaka is throwing all of his pitches and being clocked regularly in the lower-90s with his fastball. If all continues to go well, he could join the Red Sox starting rotation at some point in early June.

Dice-K has a 4.25 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 8.2 K/9 in 622 2/3 career major league innings (spanning five years).

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.