Royals demote Kelvin Herrera to Triple-A

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Kelvin Herrera was one of the best relievers in baseball last season as a 22-year-old rookie, throwing 84 innings with a 2.35 ERA and 77/21 K/BB ratio while leading MLB with an average fastball velocity of 98.5 miles per hour.

He’s struggled this season, mostly due to serving up eight homers in 20 innings, but with a 4.87 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio he’s hardly fallen apart completely. But that didn’t stop the Royals from demoting Herrera to Triple-A today.

Herrera had a 1.92 ERA in 220 innings as a minor leaguer and has a 3.04 ERA in 107 innings as a major leaguer, so while this strikes me as an overreaction based on a small sample size mostly I just feel sorry for Pacific Coast League hitters.

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.