Pirates, Orioles likely to pass on Justin Morneau

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It sure sounds like Justin Morneau is more likely to be dealt in August than before Wednesday’s deadline.

According to John Perotto of the Beaver County Times, the Pirates have “next-to-zero” interest in Morneau as they weigh an upgrade at first base or in right field. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun is among those reporting that the Orioles aren’t having any conversations regarding Morneau. They may be focused more on a cheaper option in Seattle’s Michael Morse.

It’s entirely possible that Morneau won’t be dealt at all. The Twins have little to gain for keeping him the rest of the season, but they may want him back, albeit at a significant paycut, for 2014.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.