David Ortiz confident he’ll be back with Red Sox next season

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David Ortiz was in attendance at tonight’s Heat-Celtics game and told the Boston Globe that he is confident he will be back with the Red Sox next season.

The Red Sox have until three days after the World Series to decide whether to pick up his $12.5 million option for 2011.

“We’re going to talk next week,” he said.

Ortiz, who turns 35 in November, enjoyed a bounceback year in 2010, batting .270/.370/.529 with 32 homers and 102 RBI. He finished eighth in the league with an .899 OPS and ninth with 82 walks.

$12.5 million isn’t pocket change or anything, but the Red Sox could do a lot worse than bring him back and hope for a repeat with what we can only assume will be a healthier supporting cast. It’s worth noting that Ortiz told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com in September that he wouldn’t be comfortable coming back to Boston on a one-year contract. The two sides will talk, but methinks Red Sox GM Theo Epstein won’t be silly enough to guarantee an aging slugger a multi-year deal.

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.