Back injury sends Tommy Hanson to disabled list

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Atlanta acquiring Paul Maholm last night makes even more sense with news that Tommy Hanson is headed to the disabled list with a back injury.

Hanson has officially been diagnosed with a strained lower back and revealed that he’s been pitching through the injury since the All-Star break, which explains his 7.45 ERA in four second-half starts.

Maholm will take Hanson’s rotation spot this weekend and Kris Medlen may get a chance to make multiple starts instead of being one-and-done as a spot starter.

Overall this season Hanson has a career-high 4.29 ERA in 22 starts with career-worst marks in homers, walks, and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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.