Derek Jeter’s ankle is a chronic thing, he’s likely to play tonight

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The loss of Derek Jeter would be a bad, bad thing for the Yankees right now, but it sounds as though that bone bruise he suffered last night isn’t going to keep him out of the lineup. Seems it’s a chronic thing that was merely aggravated, not some totally new injury:

Turns out, though, the ankle is a problem that was only flaring up again. Jeter is likely to be in the lineup Thursday night when the Yanks try to win the series against the Red Sox at Fenway.

Joe Girardi said he first noticed the ankle bothering Jeter in Tampa Bay at the beginning of the road trip. Jeter, as usual, was somewhat less revealing about the injury.

“You either play or you don’t,” Jeter said. “I’m playing, so it’s not an issue. I’ll be fine.”

We get a lot of Saint Derek, the Competitor stories throughout the year, and we usually roll our eyes at them. But even if the idea can be exaggerated, it’s not some wholesale invention by a fawning press. Dude is tough and if he ever makes an excuse about anything, it’ll be the first time he’s ever done so.

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.