Rays send Jeremy Hellickson to the minors

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As first reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have optioned right-handed starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to High-A Charlotte.

Jeff Beliveau was recalled from Triple-A Durham in a corresponding roster move to pitch in middle relief.

Hellickson has a rough 5.21 ERA in 27 starts this season and an especially-putrid 9.15 ERA in five starts this month. He’s not going to throw a pitch for the Charlotte Stone Crabs; instead he will rest for a week and return to the majors when the Florida State League regular season concludes on September 1.

The Rays haven’t decided what role Hellickson will have when he’s brought back up.

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.