Derek Jeter expected to be ready for Opening Day

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With the caveat that Brian Cashman is the guy who misled everyone about Alex Rodriguez’s injury because “no one asked me a specific question about his hip,”  the Yankees’ GM has some good news about the team’s captain:

“It’s all in the doctors’ hands right now,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. “But he’ll be ready on Opening Day.”

Jeter is out of his walking boot, Wallace Matthews reports, and is walking on a treadmill.  It’ll be mid-to-late January before he can resume baseball activities, but this is apparently when he starts working out during non-injury seasons, so it’s all good, his agent says.

Given how many question marks the team has as it is, a healthy Jeter in 2013 is pretty important, of course.

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.