Jacoby Ellsbury: “You see what happens when I get going”

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Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting just .242 with a .307 on-base percentage, but Red Sox manager John Farrell has stuck with him in the leadoff spot.

However, the manager did admit to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s considering shifting Ellsbury down in the batting order. For his part Ellsbury thinks that would be a mistake, saying: “You’ve seen. You see what happens when I get going.”

Here’s the problem with that line of thinking: Ellsbury has hit just .260 with a .310 on-base percentage in 119 games since the beginning of last season. So yes, while he had a huge 2011 season and is certainly capable of being an excellent leadoff hitter, it’s been quite a while since he was an asset atop the lineup and the Red Sox aren’t lacking in other leadoff options.

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.