Astros, No. 1 pick Carlos Correa have verbal agreement

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Astros owner Jim Crane told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggert that the team and Carlos Correa have come to a verbal agreement less than 48 hours after he was picked first overall in the MLB draft.

Correa is expected to get around $5 million, which would leave the Astros with over $6 million to sign the rest of their picks. With Correa coming in roughly $2 million under his assigned slot value, it gives the team plenty of flexibility to sign highly regarded supplemental first-rounder Lance McCullers.

Reports indicated that the Astros offered Stanford right-hander Mark Appel a $6 million bonus prior to the draft and turned to Correa after Appel turned them down. Appel slipped to the Pirates with the No. 8 pick.

The 17-year-old Correa is expected to begin his pro career with the Gulf Coast League Astros later this month.

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.