Drew Stubbs on track to rejoin Reds on Monday

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Drew Stubbs began a minor league rehab assignment last night with Class A Dayton as he continues to make his way back from a strained left oblique.

Stubbs, who has been sidelined since June 5, went 0-for-2 and played five innings in center field. The speedy 27-year-old later told Mark Clements of MLB.com that he didn’t feel any discomfort with the oblique.

“No soreness, no pain during the game or anything like that,” Stubbs said. “Taking two weeks off, from any game action, you never know how you’re going to feel stepping in and getting back in the flow of the game. I felt really comfortable, like I haven’t really missed a beat.”

The current plan is for Stubbs to play seven innings today and a full nine-inning game tomorrow before coming off the disabled list for Monday’s game against the Brewers.

Stubbs is hitting .235/.300/.373 with seven home runs, 18 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .673 OPS over 53 games this season. Chris Heisey is currently holding down starting center field duties, but he’ll move back into a platoon with Ryan Ludwick in left field once Stubbs returns.

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.