Wandy Rodriguez exercises $13 million option to stay with Pirates

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Wandy Rodriguez’s decision may have been at least somewhat tough had he put together a healthy season, but after spending the final four months on the disabled list it was an easy call: He exercised a $13 million player option to remain with the Pirates in 2014.

Before going down with elbow problems in early June he started 12 games with a 3.59 ERA and Rodriguez has posted a 3.66 ERA in 138 innings since the Pirates acquired him from the Astros in mid-2012.

If healthy he’s proven to be a solid mid-rotation starter and $13 million for a one-year deal is hardly a crazy price tag for that, but obviously the injury concerns make it a risk for the Pirates.

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.