Jurickson Profar cleared to resume swinging a bat

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Jurickson Profar was shut down earlier this week due to lingering tendinitis in his right shoulder, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that he was cleared to resume swinging a bat yesterday.

This is an encouraging development for Profar, though it’s unclear when he’ll be allowed to start throwing again. The original plan called for him to be shut down for at least one week.

The Rangers can’t afford any further setbacks with Profar, as they are counting on him to be their starting second baseman following the Ian Kinsler trade. The 21-year-old hit just .234/.308/.336 with six home runs and 26 RBI over 324 plate appearances in sporadic playing time last year, but the hope is that he’ll blossom as a regular.

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.