Desmond Jennings lands on disabled list with left knee sprain

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The Rays placed outfielder Desmond Jennings on the 15-day disabled list before tonight’s game with a left knee sprain and recalled utility man Stephen Vogt from Triple-A Durham.

Jennings hasn’t started since last Sunday due to the injury, but since he made a pinch-hit appearance on Friday, he will not be eligible to return until May 27. Of course, given that his knee hasn’t improved over the past few days, the prolonged period of rest might be the best thing for him in the long term.

Jennings, 25, is hitting .265/.333/.398 with three homers, 11 RBI, eight stolen bases, 20 runs scored and a .732 OPS in 31 games this season.

The Rays figure to have an outfield alignment of Matt Joyce, B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist from left to right on most nights during Jennings’ absence.

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.