Get ready for cookouts at Target Field

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The Twins’ owners recently announced that they were kicking in an
additional $13 million to Target Field, and it appears that it’s mostly
being used for fun things. Things like this:

A roof deck, complete with a fire pit and a bar, will be the latest
addition to the Minnesota Twins’ new outdoor stadium, giving a
Minnesota twist to the famed rooftop decks that surround Chicago’s
Wrigley Field. “Anyone who has gone on a road trip to watch baseball,
i.e., Chicago . . . just realizes the experience we’re missing in
Minneapolis and St. Paul,” said Brock Guettler, 39, an avid fan who has
followed the Twins since he was 12. “And anybody who has grown up in
Minnesota and gone to the lake has sat out in the back by the lake and
the fire pit. Now we have another opportunity, except now we get to
watch our favorite baseball game” . . .

. . . “Every ballpark has its own nuance,” said St. Peter, the Twins
president. “Arizona has the swimming pool. San Francisco has the Bay
and the Coke bottle slide. ….The fire pit will be uniquely Minnesota.”

Except, unlike the Coke bottle and the pool, the fire pit actually
sounds pretty cool and, at least in April and September, probably
pretty necessary. Oh, and the Coke bottle appears to be maiming people too, so let’s take a few more points off for that.

Anyway, it’s always hard to tell how these projects are going to turn
out — new Yankee Stadium seemed like a good idea on paper — but I
have to say, everything I’ve read about Target Field makes it sound
like it’s going to be awesome.

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.