Lou Piniella now following Steve Stone's advice

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Lou Piniella going off on Steve Stone last week was obviously a long time in the making, but it was pushed to the surfaced because of comments Stone made recently criticizing Piniella for not playing rookie Tyler Colvin enough.
Piniella blasted Stone for having the gall to criticize him, basically said he has no idea what he’s talking about … and is now doing exactly what Stone suggested. Seriously. Piniella said yesterday that Colvin will begin to get more playing time:

We said when the time was right we were going to make this type of move, and the time’s getting real right. He deserves an opportunity. We brought him along and he waited his turn and he deserves an opportunity.

So, maybe Piniella was just upset at Stone for stealing his thunder?
Colvin started in right field and batted second last night, replacing fellow left-handed hitter Kosuke Fukudome against right-hander Gavin Floyd. Colvin has forced his way into the lineup by hitting .296 with six homers and eight doubles in 98 at-bats as a part-time player, posting a team-leading .936 OPS, and the fact that Fukudome is also in his annual post-April slump makes things a lot easier on Piniella.
As for Stone … well, he didn’t seem to be bothered one bit by Piniella taking shots at him, seemingly taking it as well as he dished it out, and is probably pretty amused by how quickly the Cubs’ manager followed his advice. Or maybe the whole feud was all just a ruse to get the focus away from the team’s 28-35 record.

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.