Former M's manager Don Wakamatsu issues statement

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Don Wakamatsu, who was fired as Mariners manager earlier today, just issued a statement via his former employer’s public relations department.

(courtesy of Larry Stone of the Seattle Times)

“I would like to thank the city of Seattle and all the baseball fans
here in the Northwest for the great support offered to me during my time
as Mariners manager.

“My single biggest disappointment is that we were not able to finish
what we wanted to finish here, bringing a championship club to the fans.

“I can not tell you how great the fans were to me, and to my family.
The support I received here will always mean a great deal to me.”

Nothing too revelatory here, but we shouldn’t expect much from a statement distributed by the team. According to Stone, Wakamatsu will conduct a conference call tomorrow.

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.