Link-O-Rama: Ynoa, Kid Rock, and the Chicken

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* The San Diego Chicken is now 35 years old and the man inside the suit, Ted Giannoulas, was eligible to join AARP
five years ago. “Sometimes, I think when I’m wearing this chicken suit
I can live forever. I’m not kidding, man,” Giannoulas said. “I’m the
class clown, and I have the whole ballpark as my room.”

* Handed an international-record $4.25 million bonus when signed out
of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old last season, Michael Ynoa
has already run into arm problems and will be shut down for at least a month after being diagnosed with a strained right elbow.

* Despite sitting in first place at 35-27 and seeing their attendance increase 11 percent, the Rangers recently fired an undisclosed number of front-office staffers. Prior to the cuts, Texas had approximately 275 employees without including players.

* When it comes to the All-Star game balloting, Curtis Granderson has the Kid Rock vote all sewn up.

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.