Utilityman Jamey Carroll drawing plenty of interest

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Jamey Carroll finished 2013 with a .518 OPS, the lowest among any hitter in baseball, minimum 200 plate appearances (per Baseball Reference). Despite his anemic offensive contributions, Carroll is still drawing plenty of interest as a free agent, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Cotillo cites the Rays, Rangers, and Indians — as well as “a few more” — among those showing interest.

In recent years, Carroll has spent significant time at second base, third base, and shortstop, while also contributing as a pitcher last year with the Twins during a blowout and in the outfield with the Dodgers in 2010. Ultimate Zone Rating, found at FanGraphs, grades him as an average defender on the left side of the infield and above-average at second base.

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.