Mike Matheny says Matt Holliday “is trying to grind” through knee injury

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In the midst of a 0-for-18 slump, Matt Holliday was benched Sunday as manager Mike Matheny talked about the role a sore left knee has played in the outfielder’s recent struggles.

Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Holliday had his knee “flare up” during Wednesday’s game and went on to say:

He’s trying to grind for us because we need everybody to grind right now. He’s feeling it. You can tell by some of his movements.

As is so often the case, playing through–or “grinding” through, if you prefer–an injury leads to poor results and worse health.

Holliday is having the worst season of his career at age 34, posting career-lows in batting average (.260), slugging percentage (.407), and OPS (.769) while hitting just 12 homers in 119 games.

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.