HBT Weekend Wrapup

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Craig is on vacation all week so you’ll see a bigger helping of posts from the less familiar names around here.  It’s like a parent has left town, and has left us access to a stocked fridge and liquor cabinet.  We intend to have a good time.  Bonfire!

Here is your weekend wrap-up:

  • Cubs manager Lou Piniella retired suddenly on Sunday afternoon to be with his ailing mother.  He enjoyed a good amount of success in Chicago, leading the club to two division championships in four years, but ‘Sweet Lou’ will leave behind a fifth-place team.
  • We should all know more about his immediate future when the MRI results are examined on Monday afternoon, but it appears that Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg avoided major injury on Saturday night.  He has been diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon in his forearm and was able to play catch on Sunday morning.
  • Brewers setup man LaTroy Hawkins has opted to undergo exploratory surgery on his shoulder and is likely to miss the rest of the season.  Here’s a quick lesson for bad teams with major holes: Don’t spend big money on middle relief.
  • Angels rookie outfielder Peter Bourjos is going to be a great defender in this league for a long time, and now he’s beginning to do some things right at the plate.  With those powers combined…

And with that, we’re off…

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.