Phillies reveal, downplay Cole Hamels’ shoulder soreness

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Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. revealed that Cole Hamels dealt with “some shoulder soreness at the end of the season” and then experienced more problems when he “got aggressive” in his offseason throwing program.

However, the GM assured Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that it’s not a long-term worry, saying:

I’d be concerned if this was an issue, but we don’t view this as an issue at all. … We shut him down for a couple of weeks, but he’s fine now. He was being proactive more than anything else, which is good. We backed him off and slowed him down, but he’s back throwing now and doing fine. He’s had no complaints.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Amaro and the Phillies have been less than forthcoming about some significant injuries in recent years, often downplaying the severity or simply obscuring details.

For now Amaro is saying that Hamels’ shoulder soreness was “not uncommon” and Salisbury notes that the Phillies put the 29-year-old left-hander through a full slate of medical testing before inking a six-year, $144 million contract extension five months ago. And he went 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six September starts, posting a 44/7 K/BB ratio in 38 innings.

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.