Add another name to the “Best Shape Of His Life” list, via Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas:
Mitch Moreland showed up for one of his few public appearances with the Texas Rangers this offseason (at a Winter Caravan event on Tuesday night) looking fit and ready for spring training. Moreland said he’s lost 10 pounds since the season started, an effort to give him a little more mobility.
Moreland is listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds.
Durrett also notes that Moreland had one of his left-handed buddies throw to him three times per week during the offseason in an effort to improve his .211 career batting average versus southpaws.
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.