Padres to promote Andrew Cashner for Thursday start

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Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner was sent to Double-A San Antonio on June 10 to begin making the transition from reliever to starter. After only three minor-league outings — in which he posted a 1.88 ERA and 22/3 K/BB ratio in 14 1/3 innings — the flame-throwing 25-year-old is on his way back.

According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, Cashner is scheduled to start for the Padres on Thursday night against the Astros at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. If it goes well (or even if it doesn’t) he’ll be a mainstay in the San Diego rotation going forward.

Cashner has averaged 98.8 mph with his fastball this year in the majors. He also boasts a decent slider and changeup, and should be able to post some impressive numbers while making half his starts at Petco Park.

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.