Cards' Franklin likely to retire after the 2011 season

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Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss on Saturday that he’s likely to hang up his cleats after the 2011 season.

It makes sense, really.  Franklin signed a two-year, $6.5 million extension this offseason, so he won’t be skipping out on a contract.  He will also be 38 at that point and has obviously been paying attention to Trevor Hoffman’s struggles with old age.

“I’ve talked to guys who have retired. And they say to play as long as
they let you,” Franklin told the Post-Dispatch. “But right now I just don’t see that for
me. If I have a good year next year, somebody is going to have to throw
some serious money at me to make me stick around for a one-year deal.”

Franklin is married with three kids and owns a large plot of hunting
land outside of Oklahoma City, where he makes his offseason home.  He
hopes to further develop the nearly 700 acres once he retires.

For now, he’s getting the job done in St. Louis with the same impressive consistency that he showed over the first five months of the 2009 season.  As of Sunday morning, he boasts a 2.40 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP and 13 saves in 14 chances.  The Cardinals sit atop the National League Central standings with a 38-30 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.