Colby Rasmus is headed to the disabled list with an oblique strain and the Blue Jays have called up outfielder Kevin Pillar to replace him on the roster.
Rasmus was having a very nice bounceback season after struggling last year, hitting .273 with 18 homers, 26 doubles, and an .812 OPS in 112 games at age 26. Now he’ll miss the rest of this month and, based on how most oblique injuries go, could be sidelined well into September.
Pillar will be making his MLB debut at age 24 after hitting .307 with nine homers, 23 steals, and an .814 OPS in 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He was a 32nd-round pick and is not considered a top prospect, but Pillar is a career .321 hitter in 311 games as a minor leaguer.
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.