Phillies’ David Herndon undergoes Tommy John surgery

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From Todd Zolecki of MLB.com comes word that Phillies reliever David Herndon underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old right-hander claimed a spot in the Philadelphia bullpen this spring by fanning 14 batters in 16 1/3 Grapefruit League innings but strained his flexor pronator muscle at the end of April and hasn’t been off the disabled list since. He can now be ruled out through the first few months of the 2013 season.

Herndon registered a solid 3.32 ERA in 57 innings of relief last season. He owns a 3.85 career ERA.

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.