Chad Billingsley leaves start with right elbow tenderness

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It’s a good thing the Dodgers are about to get Josh Beckett from the Red Sox, because they may now have a hole in their starting rotation.

Chad Billingsley left his start against the Marlins last night in the fourth inning due to a tender right elbow. Alex Angert of MLB.com reports that an MRI revealed only inflammation. However, it’s not yet known if he’ll need a require a start on the disabled list.

“It’s hard to tell,” Billingsley said. “It just happened. They told me to just let it rest and go from there.”

Billingsley had a brief stint on the disabled list last month due to elbow inflammation. Getting some rest appeared to do wonders for him, as he was 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA over his last six starts going into last night’s outing. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 3.55 ERA and 128/45 K/BB ratio in 25 starts overall this year.

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.