Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka will visit with a doctor on Monday. If he is given the clearance, the right-hander could start playing catch, Erik Boland of Newsday reports.
Don’t expect an imminent return, however. It is still good news, and if everything goes perfectly, Tanaka could rejoin the Yankees for a late-season playoff push. Tanaka has felt better since receiving platelet-rich plasma injections several weeks ago.
Tanaka, 25, last pitched on July 8 when he suffered a partial tear of the UCL ligament. At the time, he was in the running for the American League Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards. He went on the shelf with a 12-4 record, a 2.51 ERA, and a 135/19 K/BB ratio in 129 1/3 innings.
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.