Mike Trout leads in American League All-Star balloting thus far

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We talked this morning about how one cannot draw any real conclusions from the results of All-Star balloting. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still look at the voting results and say “huh.” Let’s do that for the American League, shall we?

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Nelson Cruz is within hailing distance of David Ortiz. Melky Cabrera is a distance fifth for outfielders. I can’t say that looks profoundly low for guys of their stature. I’m sure someone will try to draw some conclusions anyway.

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.