Florida health officials have confirmed that Rays reliever Joel Peralta contracted the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus while in the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break.
Peralta was placed on the disabled list due to an assortment of flu-like (and worse) symptoms, telling the Tampa Tribune: “I just got sick and wasn’t sure why.”
He’s healthy now and off the disabled list, but it may take him a while to get back to full strength after experiencing fatigue, joint pain, and other problems.
Thousands of people in the Dominican Republic have contracted the virus, including several of Braves right-hander Ervin Santana’s family members, and so far there are 87 reported cases in Florida as well.
The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.
Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.