Edward Mujica pitched himself out of the Cardinals’ closer role and was so shaky down the stretch that there was speculation about leaving him off the playoff roster, but he’ll be part of the bullpen for the NLDS.
Mujica has struggled with shoulder problems and allowed opponents to hit .514 in September, giving up runs in six of his 10 outings on the way to an 11.05 ERA for the month. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals using him in a high-leverage situation, so perhaps they’re hoping a mop-up appearance or two could make him a semi-reliable option later in the playoffs.
Trevor Rosenthal converted three straight save appearances to finish the season after replacing Mujica in the ninth inning and the 23-year-old rookie posted a 2.63 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 75 innings overall.
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.