The Red Sox are looking for a third base upgrade

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Will Middlebrooks is hurt. And, when he wasn’t hurt, he kind of stunk. Ergo, the Red Sox are looking to make an upgrade at third base, writes  WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

One would think that the easy solution would be putting together the left side of the infield that helped the Sox win the World Series: Xander Bogaerts at third base and Stephen Drew at shortstop. However, the Sox don’t want to move Bogaerts off short. And, if they actually wanted Drew, you figure they may have called him well before now.

For the moment third base is Brock Holt’s job. And the Red Sox, spoken of by many as having the best depth in all of baseball, are looking to plug a hole.

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.