Jose Fernandez admits to pitching through soreness before needing Tommy John surgery

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Marlins ace Jose Fernandez just told Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald that he experienced elbow soreness in his second-to-last start, but continued to pitch through it and then made one more start before being shut down on the way to season-ending Tommy John surgery.

The 21-year-old right-hander explained that he did so “because we were in first place” and then added:

Health and all that stuff comes first for some people. For me, my team comes first. That’s who I am. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing but this is my team and I give my life to my team. That was the right call.

Of course, now he’s unavailable to his team for the remainder of this season and likely part of next season. And he’s put his future in some doubt as well. Who knows if immediately leaving the second-to-last start when he felt a “pinch” would have changed the end result for Fernandez, but trying to pitch through the discomfort certainly didn’t help anything and didn’t do the Marlins any favors either.

Oh well.

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.