Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Orioles are talking with free agent starters Joe Saunders and Chris Capuano. The Orioles had previously shown interest in A.J. Burnett; their newfound interest in Saunders and Capuano could indicate that they have moved on in their pursuit of starting pitching.
Saunders pitched for the Orioles briefly in 2012, posting a 3.63 ERA in seven starts. The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Mariners, finishing with a 5.26 ERA in 183 innings.
Capuano, 35, has spent the last two seasons with the Dodgers. He finished 2012 with a 3.72 over 33 starts. Last season, he made just 20 starts, suffering from a left calf strain, a strained lat in his pitching shoulder, and a strained left groin.
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.