Jonny Venters
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Braves release Jonny Venters

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The Braves have released longtime lefty reliever Jonny Venters, per a team announcement on Saturday. In a corresponding move, they selected the contract of fellow left-hander Jerry Blevins. Blevins is expected to be available for the remainder of the Braves’ series against the Brewers this weekend.

Venters, 34, came up with the Braves in 2010. He reached All-Star status with the club in 2011, but multiple ulnar collateral ligament injuries (and subsequent Tommy John surgeries) compromised his ability to stay consistent and productive in the bullpen.

Following a prolonged six-year absence from the majors, he made his comeback with the Rays in 2018 and pitched to a 3.86 ERA over several dozen appearances before he was flipped back to the Braves prior to the trade deadline. He finished the season with a collective 3.67 ERA, 4.2 BB/9, and 7.1 SO/9 over 34 1/3 innings and earned a Comeback Player of the Year Award alongside the Red Sox’ David Price.

Things didn’t go nearly so smoothly for the southpaw in 2019. Hampered by a calf strain, Venters missed most of the first month of the season and has allowed 13 runs, eight walks, and struck out seven of 31 batters across just 4 2/3 innings of work. Given his strong performance last year, however, there’s a chance he’ll pick up another major-league contract well before the end of this season.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.