Anonymous scouts give Albert Pujols,’ Ryan Howard’s legs last rites

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Andy Martino of the Daily News spoke with an AL evaluator who has watched Albert Pujols and an NL coach who has watched Ryan Howard, and each of them have some pretty dire assessments of the former MVPs’ future.

The AL guy on Pujols:

“He’s got bad wheels,” said one American League evaluator who has seen Pujols many times this year, both in spring training and the regular season. “I bet he doesn’t play more than 50 games at first this year.”

The NL guy on Howard:

“Every time I see Ryan Howard run, I worry that ankle is going to snap again,” said one National League coach.

Martino explains each of their ailments and whether or not it seems like temporary bumps or the beginnings of constant problems.

In other news, Pujols has nine years and $228 million left on his deal. Howard has four years and $105 million.

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.