Brett Anderson throws off mound for first time post surgery

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Brett Anderson is starting to make real progress.

According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the Oakland left-hander threw off a mound on Saturday afternoon for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last July. He threw a total of 20 pitches — all fastballs — without feeling any sort of abnormal pain or discomfort in his arm.

“Quick, efficient, command was there,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told Lee in a short review of the workout.

Anderson is aiming to join the Athletics’ starting rotation at some point in August. The 24-year-old owns a solid 3.66 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 371 career major-league innings. He was limited to 13 starts in 2011.

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.