Adam Dunn just did it again.
The resurgent slugger connected for a solo blast off right-hander Felipe Paulino in the bottom of the first inning tonight against the Royals. With that, he already has 11 home runs through 139 plate appearances this year after hitting just 11 over 496 plate appearances during his miserable first season with the Pale Hose.
Dunn is still striking out at a ridiculous pace, but only Josh Hamilton (15) and Matt Kemp (12) have hit more home runs so far this season. Curtis Granderson is also currently sitting at 11 home runs. Looks like we have ourselves an early candidate for comeback player of the year.
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.