Edwin Encarnacion hopes to return from wrist injury this weekend

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Blue Jays manager John Gibbons suggested yesterday that Edwin Encarnacion could be shut down due to a sprained left wrist, but they are trying to avoid that scenario at the moment.

Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Encarnacion hit off a tee today and said that his wrist feels a lot better now that it did on Sunday and Monday. He’s scheduled to take batting practice tomorrow and could return this weekend against the Orioles if all goes well.

The Blue Jays sit at 67-78 on the year, so they are basically playing out the string at this point, but there is incentive for Encarnacion to make it back for the final couple of weeks of the season. The 30-year-old is four home runs away from his second straight 40-homer campaign.

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.