A’s scratch Jarrod Parker due to illness, will start Tommy Milone on Sunday in Texas

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The Athletics are looking to sweep the Rangers in Arlington and push their division lead to 6 1/2 games, but the hot-hitting Yoenis Cespedes was scratched before Sunday’s series finale and now an emergency starting pitcher is going to be taking the mound.

From MLB.com’s Jane Lee comes word that righty Jarrod Parker will not make his scheduled Sunday start because of an illness. Tommy Milone, who was moved to the bullpen in late August and owns a 4.61 ERA in the second half, will get the nod instead.

Parker is 5-0 with a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 42/13 K/BB ratio over 56 1/3 innings since August 3.

Assuming it’s the flu, he should be able to take his turn early this week.

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.