Yankees bring in ex-NFL coach Tony Dungy for pep talk

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According to the Associated Press, the Yankees brought in former Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy to speak with the team in a closed-door meeting before Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.

Phil Hughes said the subject matter of the speech was “more life experiences” than sports, so this wasn’t a strictly “rah-rah” affair. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson address the team earlier this season and had been trying to line up Dungy for quite some time now.

“I admire him tremendously for his faith, his beliefs, the type of man
he is, the type of family man, the type of coach,” Girardi said. “I’ve
read his books. I subscribe to his website.”

As inspirational as Dungy might be, it hasn’t helped them much so far. The Yankees finally got their first hit off Jon Lester in the sixth inning, and as of this writing, they currently trail the Red Sox by the score of 6-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

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.