Roy Oswalt says “it’s going to take a couple more weeks” after latest setback

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Roy Oswalt suffered a setback in his quest to recover from a strained left hamstring. Troy Renck reports that the veteran right-hander had to quit a simulated game after two batters. Oswalt, who has been out since July 8, said “it’s going to take a couple more weeks”, effectively moving his earliest return date to mid-August. Oswalt posted a 7.64 ERA in 17 and two-thirds innings spread out over four starts.

The Rockies could use some rotation help if and when Oswalt returns. They own the National League’s fourth-worst aggregate starting pitching ERA at 4.47. Collin McHugh and Chad Bettis each started for the club recently, becoming the ninth and tenth pitchers to make a start in a Rockies uniform this season.

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.