Ryan Howard thinks he can be a 30-100 guy again

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This is a few days old, but per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard thinks he can still be a 30-100 guy (as in 30 home runs and 100 RBI). Howard has been slowed by injuries ever since he tore his Achilles tendon making the final out in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals. He missed the final three months of the 2013 season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee as well.

Howard, however, looks at what David Ortiz has accomplished and wonders “why not me?”

“Everybody in this league has experienced success on every level that they’ve played,” he said. “You have success and then you have a little bit of turmoil. It’s how you find a way to get back to that success, like Marlon Byrd, like David Ortiz. Age doesn’t play a factor.”

He continued:

“Can I be a 30-100 guy?” he said. “Yeah, I definitely think so. I believe in my ability. I hear what people say. It’s cool. You guys are all entitled to your opinions. But let’s say I come back and I do what I do. Then what? If I come back and put up numbers like ’07, ’08, ’09, then what? Are we having these conversations?”

Howard last accomplished the 30-100 feat in 2011 and he just turned 34 years old. Since 2010, the only players 34 years old or older to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs are Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, and Alex Rodriguez. In the 2013 season alone, only ten players achieved the goal regardless of age: Ortiz, Soriano, Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Pedro Alvarez, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones, and Jay Bruce. The ten instances in 2013 are down from 19 in 2009.

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.