Dale Sveum wants Alfonso Soriano to use a smaller bat

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Alfonso Soriano’s bat isn’t in the best shape of its life. Manager Dale Sveum thinks it needs to lose a few ounces.

“The fact of the matter is fastballs are getting too deep,” manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. “Whatever it is, it’s just a strange phenomenon right now that Edwin Maysonet has more home runs than Alfonso Soriano.”

Soriano has yet to homer this season. He’s hitting .250 with 16 RBI in 112 at-bats.

Sveum, a former hitting coach, has been working with Soriano in the hopes of adding more power to his stroke. As he told CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney:

“There’s no question I’d like to see a much lighter bat,” Sveum said. “He has adjusted a little bit, but I think a really smaller, lighter bat would help a lot.”

Soriano has always used one of the game’s heaviest bats, even though he’s far from one of the league’s biggest guys. Now 36, it probably is time for him to change it up a bit. However, pride may be getting in the way.

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.