Jorge De La Rosa cleared for rehab assignment

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Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told season ticket holders back in June that Jorge De La Rosa was unlikely to pitch this summer. But things are suddenly looking up for the left-handed starter.

According to beat writer Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, De La Rosa is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday evening with the Rockies’ rookie-league affiliate in Grand Junction, Colorado and could be cleared to rejoin the big league rotation a week or two later.

De La Rosa has been on the shelf since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in June 2011. The 31-year-old carries an $11 million player option for the 2013 season and is sure to exercise it.

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.