Rangers, Giants, D-Backs among teams interested in Alex Rios

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With the White Sox bringing up the rear in the AL Central, they are expected to make a plethora of players available over the next month leading up to the July 31 deadline. Among them is outfielder Alex Rios, enjoying an adequate season out of the #3 spot in the White Sox lineup as he carries a .771 OPS entering July. He is earning $12.5 million this year; he will earn another $12.5 million next year and has a $13.5 million club option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.

Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago says the Rangers, Giants, and D-Backs are three teams showing interest in Rios as the Sox wrap up June.

According to industry sources, Rios has numerous clubs, including Pierzynski’s Texas Rangers, the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks watching him from city to city right now.

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Rios has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that allows him to veto a deal to six teams. That said, if a contender comes calling he will most likely waive his no-trade rights.

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.