Michael Bourn day-to-day after MRI shows slight sprain of thumb

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UPDATE: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bourn is day-to-day after the MRI showed a slight sprain and no ligament tear.

8:32 PM: Michael Bourn is out of the Braves lineup for the fourth straight game tonight due to a jammed left thumb suffered on a head-first slide Saturday. Braves hand specialist Gary Lourie believes there’s no structural damage in the thumb, but David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the speedy center fielder was sent for a precautionary MRI earlier today to confirm.

The Braves have already wrapped up one of the Wild Cards, so they understandably want to play things safe, but Bourn hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning for the series opener against the Mets tomorrow night assuming the MRI comes back clean.

“I wanted to play as soon as I can, but I knew the day after (injuring it), it was too sore,” Bourn said. “It swelled up the day after. But now most of the swelling’s gone. Some of the soreness is gone and it’s starting to feel better, but they just didn’t want me to rush out there and have any setbacks, which I can understand.”

Bourn, 29, is batting .274/.346/.391 with a .737 OPS and 93 runs scored in 151 games this season and leads the National League with 39 stolen bases. The impending free agent has established new career-highs with nine home runs and 56 RBI.

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.