Hiroki Kuroda hopeful to make next start

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Hiroki Kuroda was forced to leave his season debut last night after he took a line drive off his right middle finger, but fortunately for the Yankees, X-rays didn’t show a fracture. However, his status for his next start is up in the air.

According to Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York, Kuroda acknowledged today that while he doesn’t feel “normal” and is still experiencing a “little discomfort,” but he plans to test the finger by throwing a bullpen session tomorrow. If all goes well, he’ll be cleared to make his next scheduled start Monday against the Indians.

“The bottom line is I’m going to try to make my next start,” Kuroda said.

The Yankees are already using David Phelps in the rotation since Phil Hughes is on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back, so they could have to turn to Adam Warren for a spot-start if Kuroda isn’t ready. Warren allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in relief of Kuroda last night, so he would be stretched out for the potential assignment.

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.