Roy Halladay tosses three innings in rehab start

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Many things will have to go right for the Phillies to make a playoff run during the the second half of the season, but there’s some reason for optimism tonight.

Roy Halladay made a rehab start for High-A Clearwater this evening and allowed one unearned run over three innings. It was his first game action since being placed on the disabled list in late May with a right latissimus dorsi strain.

According to official Twitter account of the Clearwater Threshers, Halladay gave up just three hits while striking out four and walking none. The 35-year-old right-hander worked out of trouble in his final inning by stranding runners at second and third. He threw 43 out of 61 pitches for strikes on the night and topped out at 91 mph on his fastball.

The Phillies will likely see how he feels tomorrow before making an announcement on how they’ll proceed, but the hope is that he’ll be ready to return next Tuesday against the Dodgers. Halladay had a 3.98 ERA and 56/14 K/BB ratio over 72 1/3 innings prior to being placed on the disabled list.

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.