Franklin Gutierrez continues to be snakebitten

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Not literally, though at this point it wouldn’t surprise me. The latest: Franklin Gutierrez has been sidelined in the Venezuelan Winter League by a viral infection.

This isn’t terribly serious, but Gutierrez has had all manner of injuries, illnesses and ailments over the years. He missed a lot of time this past season with hamstring trouble. He’s had intestinal problems. He’s had it all, causing him to miss the majority of the Mariners’ games since 2011. Which stinks, because he’s so electrifying to watch run down balls when he’s healthy.

Oh well. Watch out for the snakes, Franklin.

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.