Quote of the Day: Awesome Umpire Bob Davidson

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“I was right on top of it, and it was wide of the bag. What the ball did when it went past me is irrelevant . . . I understand
that’s the winning run, but in my opinion it was foul.”

Bob Davidson, third base umpire in last night’s Phillies-Rays game, not letting anything get in the way of his opinion.

And Davidson is right to say that where the ball is after it passes the bag doesn’t matter. It’s just that based on repeated viewings of the play in question, I can’t see how anyone can say the ball wasn’t fair when it passed the bag. It bounced fair in front of the bag. It bounced fair behind the bag. Unless it took a left turn and then an immediate right, I’m not sure how it could have ever been foul.

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.