The Cubs introduce Rudy Jaramillo; consider Jermaine Dye

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As the Tribune’s Paul Sullivan notes, “The Cubs may be the only team in history to bring their new hitting coach to
town for an introductory news conference while letting their most
prominent free agent signee do his talking over the phone.”  But a news conference it was, and Rudy Jaramillo spoke about his guru status. Mostly by denying that he’s a guru, which is smart.  But still, is there a hitting coach in baseball who will be under more scrutiny than Jaramillo will be this season?

In addition, the Cubs confirmed that they are looking at Jermaine Dye, but if they brought him in he’d be a utility player of sorts, platooning with Fukudome and backing up Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee.

I didn’t like the idea of Dye in San Diego where he’d presumably expect to play every day (and, if some of you readers are correct, the Padres would want him to play every day in order to showcase him for a midseason trade).  An uber-corner backup job, however, may be more fitting.  Especially with the Cubs, from Dye’s perspective, considering he lives in Chicago anyway.

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.