Manny Machado gets good news on knee following second opinion

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It was easy to think the worst when Manny Machado was carted off the field with a left knee injury last Monday at Tropicana Field, but no major ligament tears were found while Orioles team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens recommended rest and rehab for a torn medial patellofemoral ligament rather than surgery. The Orioles received more encouraging news today following a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews.

Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Andrews agreed with the Orioles’ diagnosis. Machado will have his knee examined again in four weeks in order to get a sense of his progress from the injury, but the team is hopeful that he’ll be able to resume running in 6-8 weeks. If all goes well, he should have plenty of time to get ready for the start of the 2014 season.

Machado, 21, batted .283/.314/.432 with 14 home runs and 71 RBI during his first full season in the majors this year. His 51 doubles led the American League.

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.