Rangers could call up Jurickson Profar next week

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The Rangers are going with a three-man bench after dropping Alberto Gonzalez from the roster last week. That’s expected to change next week, and when it does, top prospect Jurickson Profar could get the call, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports.

Profar, widely regarded as the top position prospect in the minors, has hit .283/.362/.463 with 13 homers and 15 steals for Double-A Frisco this season. The native of Curacao will replace Bryce Harper as MLB’s youngest player once he debuts. Born on Feb. 20, 1993, he’s four months younger than Harper.

While Profar projects as an above average defensive shortstop, the Rangers have prepared him at second base in case he’s initially needed elsewhere. He’s played 21 games there this season and one at third base.

The Rangers still might want to wait until September to promote Profar, figuring that there is very little playing time available for him in the infield at the moment. Until Frisco’s season concludes, it will make more sense to get him 25 at-bats per week in the minors than it would five in the majors.

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.