Gio Gonzalez to return to the Nationals on Wednesday

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Gio Gonzalez will return to the Nationals to make Wednesday’s start against the Astros, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post. Gonzalez has been absent from the starting rotation since May 18 with inflammation in his left shoulder.

Gonzalez posted better results in his latest rehab start with Single-A Potomac on Thursday, allowing one run over four innings. He had surrendered eight runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first rehab start.

On the season, the 28-year-old left-hander has posted a 4.62 ERA with a 53/20 K/BB ratio in 50 2/3 innings for the Nationals.

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.