Jed Lowrie has a fracture in his right index finger, but the shortstop hopes to play through it

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A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie was initially diagnosed with a bruise after taking a hard grounder off his right index finger last week, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an MRI taken Tuesday afternoon revealed a hairline fracture.

Lowrie is hoping to play through the injury for the remainder of the 2014 season (and playoffs), but he acknowledged to Slusser on Tuesday that the fracture causes him pain when he throws — “a burning feeling” — and also occasionally bothers him on swings. Lowrie is 1-for-11 with four strikeouts since the grounder struck him.

This injury comes with bad timing for the AL West-leading A’s and for Lowrie, who is set to become a free agent this fall. He has hit .238 with a .671 OPS this season after batting .290 with a .791 OPS in 2013.

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.