The Astros release Kyle Farnsworth

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Is the end nigh for The Professor?

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros have outrighted  Kyle Farnsworth. They’ve called up Jose Veras to replace him in the pen.

Farnsworth is 38 and he’s been awful this year, posting a 6.17 ERA in 11 and two-thirds innings since joining the Astros and walking more guys than he has struck out. He was a bit better than that with the Mets to start the season, but the fact is that two teams going nowhere and who are predisposed at this point to put up with less-than-stellar production in the name of saving some money and saving their young arms has decided that Farnsworth wasn’t worth keeping him around.

That’s a bad sign if he wants to keep pitching.

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.