Phillies activate Roy Halladay for Sunday start

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Roy Halladay was all set to make his third minor league rehab start at Double-A Reading, but the Phillies’ scheduled starter for Sunday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks had to pitch in relief in Saturday night’s 18-inning marathon loss so “Doc” is back in the bigs in a sudden change of course.

CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports that Halladay has been activated from the 60-day disabled list and will take the mound on Sunday afternoon versus Arizona in the place of Tyler Cloyd. Halladay went six innings in each of his two minor league rehab starts, so the Phillies don’t have to put him on a limited pitch count. But expectations should probably be low.

Halladay — who underwent shoulder surgery on May 16 and hasn’t pitched in the majors since — allowed 13 hits, six walks and five runs over 12 minor league innings while averaging around 87 mph on his fastball.

The 36-year-old righty had an 8.65 ERA in seven starts this season for Philly before hitting the shelf.

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.