Bucs fire pitching coach Kerrigan, bench coach Varsho

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Well, it appears the good vibes that Pedro Alvarez sent into the Pittsburgh air on Saturday night have quickly made their way out of the stratosphere.  The Bucs decided to cut ties with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and bench coach Gary Varsho early Sunday morning, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Kerrigan was hired by the Pirates in October of 2008 and has watched a low-on-talent staff post a 5.07 collective ERA this season, which ranks 28th in the majors.  The 55-year-old has coached for the Expos, the Red Sox, the Phillies and the Yankees, and he also pitched for four-plus seasons.  Now he’ll look for a job elsewhere.

Varsho, 49, was hired to be the Pirates’ bench coach in November of 2007.  He also played in the majors at one point, racking up 204 hits and 84 RBI as an outfielder for the Pirates, Cubs, Reds and Phillies.

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.