UPDATE: Mariano Rivera sits out third straight save opportunity

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UPDATE: Mariano Rivera may have wanted to pitch today, but the Yankees turned to Boone Logan and then Alfredo Aceves to close out a 7-5 victory in a messy ninth inning. With a scheduled day off tomorrow, Joe Girardi apparently wanted to give Rivera extra rest before the series against Boston begins Friday.

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Unavailable for the past two games because of soreness in his left side, Mariano Rivera said this morning that he “feels better” and “could go out there” if needed this afternoon against the Orioles.
Actually, he said the second day off “wasn’t necessary.” Obviously it’s tough to blame the Yankees for playing it safe with Rivera, especially since Joba Chamberlain converted both save opportunities while filling in.
Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com notes that Chamberlain is the first Yankees pitcher other than Rivera to “record consecutive saves since Juan Acevedo in 2003 and Mike Stanton in 1998.”

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.