Aroldis Chapman feels “a lot better” after recent bout with shoulder fatigue

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Aroldis Chapman is currently getting a bit of a break due to a fatigued left shoulder, but he’s confident he’ll be blowing away opposing batters again real soon.

According to Christina De Nicola of MLB.com, Chapman said he felt “a lot better” after making 40 throws earlier today while playing long toss from a distance of 40-50 feet. He hopes to return “in a few more days.”

The Reds decided to shut Chapman down this week after he showed diminished velocity while walking three of the five batters he faced on Monday against the Pirates. This was one appearance after he blew a save against the Astros last Friday by giving up four hits, including a three-run homer to Matt Dominguez.

Chapman said he has dealt with fatigue multiple times in his career and chalks it up to a matter of conditioning.

“There’s a long season and sometimes you forget about continuing to do some exercises and you get fatigued,” Chapman said.

Chapman has an incredible 1.60 ERA and 119/20 K/BB ratio over 67 2/3 innings this season and is currently tied with Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel for the National League lead with 35 saves. The Reds opened play tonight with an 11-game lead in the National League Central, so they have the luxury of resting him until he’s right.

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.