Red Sox sign former ninth overall pick Karsten Whitson

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Four years after being selected ninth overall in the 2010 draft by the Padres, Karsten Whitson is a member of the Red Sox organization, according to WEEI’s Alex Speier.  Whitson signed for $100,000, the most the Red Sox could give him as an 11th-round pick without cutting into their allotted draft pool.

After being drafted out of high school, Whitson turned down $2.1 million deal with the Padres in order to attend the University of Florida, which is where his parents went to school. He starred right away with the Gators, going 8-1 with a 2.40 ERA as a freshman. However, he started battling shoulder problems as a sophomore and missed his entire junior season after surgery, causing him to redshirt.

This year, Whitson had a 3.86 ERA and a 21/23 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings, but he was back throwing in the mid-90s at the end of the year, giving him something to work with as he enters the pros. He’s a lottery ticket for the Red Sox, but one that could pay off.

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.