The last-place Indians will get a boost this week.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, star second baseman Jason Kipnis is on track to return from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday against the White Sox after playing one final minor league rehab game Monday at Triple-A Columbus.
Kipnis slugged a two-run homer in his second rehab game Saturday with Columbus. He was batting just .234 with a .748 OPS through 113 plate appearances this season for the Tribe, but the 27-year-old can get it going in a hurry. He had an .818 OPS, 17 home runs, 84 RBI, and 30 stolen bases in 2013 then signed a six-year, $52.5 million contract extension with Cleveland this spring.
Mike Aviles has been filling in at second base in Kipnis’ three-week absence.
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.