Reds close to re-signing outfielder Ryan Ludwick

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Ryan Ludwick is apparently staying in Cincinnati.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Reds are “getting close on a deal” for the veteran outfielder. It’s likely for two years and a little under $20 million.

Ludwick batted .275/.346/.531 with 26 home runs and 80 RBI in 125 games this past season for the National League Central-champion Reds. The 34-year-old owns a .799 career OPS in the majors.

Ludwick was said to be holding out for a three-year offer but apparently did not receive one.

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UPDATE, 11:37 PM: MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon was told that Passan’s report is “not so true.”

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.