After sitting out the first two months of the season and then re-signing with Boston on a one-year, $10.1 million contract Stephen Drew is making his 2014 debut tonight, playing shortstop and batting eighth for the Red Sox.
Drew hit eighth for most of last season too, logging 236 of his 501 plate appearances there and getting twice as many starts there (60) as any other spot (28, batting seventh).
Xander Bogaerts, who had been the Red Sox’s everyday shortstop in Drew’s absence, is sliding over to third base, where he’s played just nine games in the majors and 10 games in the minors.
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.