Yadier Molina hurt trying to avoid pitch, leaves game

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4:35 p.m. EDT update: The Cardinals report that Molina departed due to lower back spasms. Consider him day-to-day.

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Yadier Molina was removed from Saturday’s game against the Cubs in the ninth inning after injuring himself while getting out of the way of a Carlos Marmol pitch.

It appeared to be either a hip or oblique injury, but nothing particularly serious. Molina wanted to stay in and was upset about not getting his way. Once back in the dugout, he slammed his bat into the top of the dugout and again on to the front railing.

Tony Cruz replaced him at the plate with a 1-0 count and stayed in to catch.

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.