Albert Pujols won’t require surgery on foot, still hopes to return this season

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Albert Pujols landed on the disabled list over the weekend due to a partial tear of the left plantar fascia, but he’s still hoping to make it back this season.

According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Pujols said this evening that he will not require surgery on his foot since the tear naturally accomplished what surgery would have done. He expects to shed a walking boot in three weeks and hopes to begin working his way back to the Angels from there.

“I’ll see how I feel [after three weeks],” Pujols said. “But it’s still a long way until the season is done, so I don’t want to say that I’m done for the season. This is something that I’m going to take day-by-day. The way I feel right now, with no pain, I can say that I can go out there and play. But I need to put that weight on my heel and that’s going to take some time. I feel really good, to tell you the truth. I don’t feel any pain at all. I think after that tear, it kind of released the pain, which is good.”

Pujols said he was playing at “45 percent” this year while dealing with the nagging foot injury, so he thinks he can help even if he’s at “55 percent,” but there’s little sense of urgency for him to rush back for the final days of a lost season. The Angels will enter play tonight on a six-game losing streak and sit at 46-56 on the year.

Pujols, 33, is batting .258/.330/.437 with 17 home runs and 64 RBI in 99 games this season. He still has another eight years remaining on his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels.

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.