UPDATE: The Nationals sign Livan Hernandez

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UPDATE: Ladson reports that the Nats have signed Livan Hernandez to a minor league deal.

10:00 A.M.: After a full winter of saying that they were looking for a “Livan Hernandez-type” pitcher, but steadfastly refusing to consider Livan Hernandez for the job, the Nats have apparently decided that they just can’t quit Livan, with Bill Ladson reporting that the team is in “serious talks” with the mediocre iron-man.

All of this reminds of the time that Ted Turner fired Bobby Cox as Braves’ manager in 1981and at the press conference the same day asked who was on his short list for a replacement.  Turner said “it would be Bobby Cox if I hadn’t just fired him. We
need someone like him around here.”

You can look that up, by the way. It’s part of Georgia law.

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.