Tyler Flowers didn’t tell White Sox about “extreme” pain

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As is so often the case when a player performs terribly, it turns out White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was playing through a significant shoulder injury.

Flowers is set to undergo season-ending exploratory surgery, but manager Robin Ventura told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that the catcher hid the severity of the injury for a long time. In fact, according to Hayes he initially suffered the injury last season and “experienced ‘extreme’ pain as far back as last offseason when he began to prepare for spring training.”

Chicago was counting on Flowers replacing A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate and so he tried to play through the pain, hitting .195 with 94 strikeouts in 84 games before finally shutting things down. Being a tough guy is great in theory, but in so many cases it hurts the player and the team.

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.