Chris Sale is “going through a little dead-arm period”

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Chris Sale’s transition from reliever to starter has gone exceptionally well, but the left-hander admitted yesterday that he’s now “going through a little dead-arm period” and the White Sox plan to give him some rest.

Sale made it clear that he doesn’t think the issue is anything serious, telling Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that it’s “nothing anyone else doesn’t go through.”

However, his velocity has dipped in recent starts and Sale has already logged 124 innings after throwing a total of 71 as a reliever last season. He’s also allowed five runs in back-to-back starts after going 11-2 with a 2.11 ERA through 17 outings.

Chicago also gave Sale some extra time off around the All-Star break and manager Robin Ventura indicated that they’ll wait to see how he feels in the next few days before lining up his next start, saying: “We’re just trying to take care of him.”

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.