The Phillie Phanatic is sued. Again.

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I’m not sure what’s more entertaining: the fact that the Phillie Phanatic gets sued all the time or the fact that the plaintiff’s lawyer in this latest case — arising out of the Phanatic’s antics at a minor league game at Reading — seems to be doing a pretty good job of humanizing, er, Phanaticising the defendant:

Even the woman’s attorney, John Speicher, of Wyomissing, said that
people around him have said that “this is like suing Santa Claus.”

“I’m expecting him to come to a deposition, stick his stomach and his
tongue out at me and not say anything,” Speicher said . . .

. . . Speicher agreed that the Phanatic is more “engaging and interactive”
than the mascots typically seen at Reading Phillies games. “Their mascot is Screwball, and it’s like he’s on Valium,” Speicher
said. “They say Screwball has the energy of Perry Como.”

He also sued in Philly rather than in Reading, where the alleged incident occurred. Which while not totally silly — city juries may be more plaintiff-friendly than smaller town juries — is a bit counter-intuitive, because you don’t want to let your defendant have home field advantage.

Sue in Reading and the Phanatic will be on his ATV, going back and forth to court appearance, all the time.

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.