Dan Haren has turned his season around for the Nationals

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It’s probably too late to do the Nationals much good, but Dan Haren has turned his season around in a big way following a miserable start.

Haren signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Nationals after the Angels declined his $15.5 million option, buying him out for $3.5 million instead. He was coming off multiple injuries and needed to re-establish his value, but through the end of June he was 4-9 with a 6.15 ERA and league-high 19 homers allowed. Then he spent two weeks on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

And he’s been fantastic since coming off the DL. Haren tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Cubs last night, giving him a 2.16 ERA and 50/10 K/BB ratio in 50 innings since early July. He’s allowed just four homers in eight starts during that span while holding opponents to a sub-.200 batting average.

Haren’s season totals may not end up looking particularly impressive because of the rough start, but if he can keep pitching like this for the final six weeks he’ll be in line for a nice payday as a 33-year-old free agent. And that possibility was no doubt a big part of why he signed a one-year deal.

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.