Mariners option Jesus Montero to Triple-A to make room for Kendrys Morales

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The Mariners have optioned DH Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma to make room for Kendrys Morales, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Morales is in the Mariners’ starting lineup tonight, batting clean-up against the Orioles.

Morales rejoined the Mariners in a trade yesterday which sent Stephen Pryor to the Twins. The 31-year-old 1B/DH didn’t have a great start with the Twins, posting a disappointing .234/.259/.325 slash line with one home run and 18 RBI in 162 plate appearances. The Twins had signed him to a one-year deal worth a prorated $14 million on June 8.

Montero, 24, performed poorly in a handful of plate appearances at the major league level, slashing .235/.235/.412 with one home run and two RBI in 17 trips to the plate. To his credit, Montero has performed well with Tacoma, where he has spent a vast majority of his season, but the Mariners would prefer to see him translate that into success in the majors.

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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.