Brandon McCarthy set to start throwing in December

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The good news keeps on coming regarding Brandon McCarthy.

After McCarthy was cleared to resume baseball activities earlier this month, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that the free agent right-hander is set to start throwing next month. In other words, he will have a normal offseason just a few months removed from season-ending brain surgery. Pretty great.

This is oddly a testament to McCarthy’s progress, but Passan hears that teams are more concerned about his history of shoulder issues at this point. However, assuming everything checks out with his medicals, executives believe he’ll be able to land a multi-year contract.

McCarthy, 29, posted a 3.24 ERA and 73/24 K/BB ratio over 111 innings this season. He owns a 3.29 ERA dating back to the start of the 2011 season. Only 23 pitchers (min. 250 IP) have a lower ERA during the same timespan.

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.