Report: Ken Griffey Jr. opts for retirement

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Thumbnail image for ken griffey jr.jpgMariners manager Don Wakamatsu said Wednesday that Ken Griffey Jr. has opted to retire, effective immediately.
Griffey, the 1997 AL MVP, was hitting just .184/.250/.204 and was homerless in 98 at-bats this season. He lost playing time to Mike Sweeney last month and saw his role decrease even further with Milton Bradley back from the restricted list.
A surefire Hall of Famer, Griffey finishes his career wth a .284/.370/.538 line, 630 homers and 1,836 RBI in 22 seasons. He ranks fifth all-time in homers, 14th in RBI and 12th in total bases. He went to 13 All-Star Games and won 10 Gold Glove awards.

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.