Unsigned Kyle Lohse hasn’t talked to Cardinals in months

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Kyle Lohse remains a free agent, leading to speculation that a return to the Cardinals could be an option because teams are so hesitant to give up a first-round draft pick to sign him.

Don’t count on it, though. Lohse appeared on KFNS-590 radio in St. Louis this morning and gave an update on his offseason, admitting that he hasn’t had any contact with the Cardinals in 3-4 months.

Tim McKernan of KFSN-590 has more from Lohse, including the right-hander saying that the first-round draft pick compensation has had a huge impact in limiting his suitors, crossing numerous teams off the list completely and creating something much less than a free market situation.

That must be very frustrating for Lohse considering he’s probably looking at the last big contract of his career at age 34 and is coming off a career-best two-season run in which he went 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA in 399 innings over 63 starts.

It sounds like Lohse expects to land a deal somewhere, but he hinted that it won’t be from a West Coast team and might drag on for a while longer. In turning down the qualifying offer from the Cardinals to become a free agent Lohse bypassed a one-year, $13.3 million deal.

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.