The latest update of the American League All-Star voting is in and it reveals three new names at the top of their respective positions.
Yonder Alonso of the A’s has moved ahead of Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers for first place in a crowded first base race. At shortstop Carlos Correa of the Astros has passed Francisco Lindor of the Indians at shortstop. Finally, George Springer has moved into third place among outfielders, joining Aaron Judge and Mike Trout in starting position. Of course Trout is unlikely to be ready to play in the All-Star Game due to his injury, which makes fourth place outfielder Michael Brantly a defacto starter.
Obviously, things can change before the close of voting. But here is where the AL stands now:
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.