Carlos Martinez can’t report to Cardinals camp because of visa issues in Dominican Republic

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Cardinals prospect Carlos Martinez has missed the entirety of spring training and remains stuck in the Dominican Republic because he hasn’t been cleared for a work visa.

Not only did it cost Martinez a chance to impress the coaching staff in major-league camp, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that whenever he does arrive in the United States he’ll likely be so far behind other pitchers that he won’t be ready to begin the season in the minors.

According to Goold he’s been working out, but isn’t on a formal throwing program and there’s still no timetable for when the work visa will be approved despite MLB’s involvement in the process. Apparently changing his name from Carlos Matias to Carlos Martinez when he signed with the Cardinals in 2009 has come up as a red flag now.

Baseball America rated the 21-year-old right-hander as a top-40 prospect this year and last year.

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.