The Rockies sign Kaz Matsui

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kaz matsui headshot astros.jpgThe Rockies signed Kaz Matsui to a minor league deal yesterday, and will send him to Colorado Springs, assuming he passes the physical.

Matsui — who,as you can see, has some fabulous facial hair — hit a measly 141/.197/.155 in 71 at-bats with the Astros, so it’s not like we can expect a ton of him in Colorado.

In other news, that three-year, $16.5 million contract he signed before the 2008 season is one of the bigger busts in the past couple of years, even at its, generally speaking, moderate size.

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.