B.J. Upton isn’t happy with being dropped in the Rays’ batting order:
B.J. Upton’s frustration with his poor season has been made worse by the sting of being dropped to the No. 9 spot in the Rays lineup. “It’s almost like a kick in the face,” Upton said.
Upton said he was “definitely” hurt by the further demotion
after being taken out of the leadoff slot last week, dropped initially
to seventh, then eighth and now ninth . . .
. . . “To go from being a leadoff guy and last year hitting (No.) 2, 3, maybe
4 … it’s just like I’m back where I started (as a 19-year-old rookie).
I was in the 9-hole, the 8-hole and kind of worked my way up,” Upton
said. “I know I’m not a 9-hitter. I know I’m not a bottom-of-the-order
type of guy.”
Hey B.J.: your .239/.314/.363 season suggest otherwise.
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.