Joakim Soria finally cleared to join Rangers bullpen

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Joakim Soria agreed to a two-year, $8 million free agent contract with the Rangers in December 2012.

And he is finally ready to begin contributing.

Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports that the right-hander was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Sunday morning and will be in the Rangers’ bullpen for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Astros at the Ballpark In Arlington.

Soria missed the first three months of the 2013 regular season because he was still recovering from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery — the second of his career. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2011.

Soria, 29, registered an outstanding 2.40 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 in five years (2007-2011) with the Royals, converting 160 saves. He allowed just one hit and fanned eight batters in seven rehab appearances and should eventually move into a setup role in Texas behind Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan.

Nick Tepesch was placed on the 15-day disabled list in a corresponding move with an elbow injury.

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.