Royals ink Guillermo Mota to a minor league contract

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After securing Brad Penny as a non-roster invitee yesterday, the Royals added another familiar name today by signing reliever Guillermo Mota to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Mota hasn’t pitched professionally since 2012 as a member of the Giants when he posted a 5.23 ERA over 26 appearances. He served a 100-game suspension that year after his second positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. That was the longest PED suspension ever before Alex Rodriguez’s recent ban. Miguel Tejada was handed a 105-game suspension last summer, but it was for amphetamine use.

Mota owns a 3.94 ERA over 14 seasons in the majors. He’ll turn 41 in July.

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.