Yadier Molina to undergo X-rays on sprained right thumb

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The Cardinals surely have their fingers crossed right now, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Yadier Molina is out of tonight’s lineup against the Rockies due to a sprained right thumb and is scheduled to undergo X-rays when the team returns home to St. Louis tomorrow.

Molina injured the thumb in an awkward slide into first base last night. He’s currently dealing with some swelling, which is naturally making it difficult for him to throw or hit. More should be known following the examination tomorrow.

Molina took a huge leap forward offensively last year and he has been even better this year, batting .310/.359/.506 with 16 home runs, 52 RBI and an .856 OPS in 91 games played. The 30-year-old backstop has also thrown out 44 percent of attempted basestealers (20-for-45), which leads all major league catchers. An extended absence would be a tough blow for the Cards, who enter play tonight 7 1/2 games behind the Reds in the National League Central and three games back in the Wild Card race.

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.