Pablo Sandoval says he has dropped 42 pounds

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Time for your annual Pablo Sandoval offseason weight loss update.

This one comes from MLB.com Venezuela correspondent Rafael Rojas …

Sandoval provided visual evidence of his progress back in early December and he has apparently stuck to the program. The 27-year-old third baseman will be looking to bounce back in a big way in 2014 after posting a pedestrian .278/.341/.417 slash line in 141 games last year for the 76-86 Giants. Sandoval, a .298/.351/.476 career hitter in the major leagues, is scheduled to reach the free agent market for the first time next winter.

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.