Luke Scott placed on disabled list with back injury

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The Rays announced late this afternoon that Luke Scott was placed on the disabled list with mid-back spasms.

Scott hasn’t played since last Friday due to the injury, so his DL-stint will be backdated. He told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he expects to return when he is first eligible on June 24.

“I’ve been having really, really bad back spasms since Saturday,” Scott said. “I’ve been trying to get them to go away but they haven’t so far. We have a plan and we’ll keep to that plan. It’s a difficult situation, but we’ll have to make the most of it.”

Scott, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Rays over the winter, is batting .220/.281/.424 with nine home runs, 35 RBI and a .704 OPS through 196 plate appearances this season. Hideki Matsui figures to get most of the at-bats out of the DH spot for now, although he’s hitting an even .200 (7-for-35) with two homers, a double and a .643 OPS over his first 11 games since being added to the major league roster.

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.