Jason Giambi likely to make Indians’ 25-man roster

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Indians manager Terry Francona is enjoying having 42-year-old Jason Giambi in camp. In fact, so much so that Giambi will very likely make the Indians’ roster when camp breaks at the end of the month. The Plain Dealer’s Bud Shaw has the details:

He sounds almost that cheery every time Giambi’s name is mentioned. The way Francona talks about him, Giambi would have to accidentally get run over by a Vespa peloton not to make the Indians’ roster out of spring training.

“He has a presence about him,” Francona said when asked about Giambi’s at-bats in camp. “He doesn’t swing at bad pitches ever. He’ll take a walk. He still has his bat speed. I’ve been very impressed.

Francona noted that Giambi won’t face left-handed pitching during the season, even though Giambi posted an .848 OPS against them in 30 plate appearances with the Colorado Rockies last season. Giambi has yet to record a hit in 11 spring training at-bats but has drawn three walks.

Before the Rockies hired Walt Weiss to be their new manager, there were rumors that Giambi would retire as a player to run the show in Colorado. For now, the lefty is happy to continue his playing career in Cleveland.

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.