Hanley Ramirez needs surgery for WBC injury, out two months with torn thumb ligament

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The thumb injury that caused Hanley Ramirez to leave the World Baseball Classic championship game turned out to be a significant one, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Dodgers shortstop has a torn ligament that will require surgery.

He’s scheduled to go under the knife tomorrow, will be totally shut down for at least three weeks, and is expected to miss approximately eight weeks overall. In other words, he may not be back in the Dodgers’ lineup until June.

Yesterday manager Don Mattingly indicated that he’d shift Luis Cruz from third base to shortstop in Ramirez’s absence and use Nick Punto or Jerry Hairston Jr. at third base, but now that the Ramirez timetable is two months instead of the two weeks the Dodgers were hoping for Dee Gordon could eventually emerge as an option.

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.