You may or may not recall that Braves rookie reliever Jonny Venters was handed a four-game suspension for plunking Prince Fielder a couple of weeks ago. He appealed, and the smart money had that appeal getting his suspension reduce to two games or something because that’s how those things always go. Turns out, however, that baseball dropped the suspension entirely.
It’s not often you see that. The last time was Cliff Lee’s suspension for that spring training plunking, but not a ton more examples come to mind. It certainly surprises me, not only because it’s unprecedented, but because I actually figure he might have deserved a bit of a suspension. He threw one at Fielder’s head and, whether it was intentional or not, he was given a warning before the next pitch hit Prince in the back. The bigger injustice in my mind is that there was no discipline the next day when a Brewers’ pitcher hit a Braves player.
But there you are. Venters is eligible and he can take his 1.07 ERA into this weekend’s series against the Reds.
Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.
Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.
Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.
Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.
Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.
Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.