Willie Mays calls in sick for ceremonial first pitch

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The Giants invited six legends from the franchise’s past to throw out the first pitch Wednesday before Game 1 of the World Series at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.  Unfortunately, only five could make it.

Willie Mays, called the greatest player of all time in some circles, had to call in sick for the pre-game ceremony.  This according to the Associated Press.

Orlando Cepeda, Monte Irvin, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry delivered their pitches and the Giants are out to a commanding lead in Game 1 against Texas, but it would have been nice for the 79-year-old Mays to make an appearance.

If the Giants stick around long enough in this seven-game Fall Classic, perhaps “The Say Hey Kid” will get the chance.

Bobby Thomson’s daughters, Megan Armstrong and Nancy Mitchell, are scheduled to throw out ceremonial pitches for Game 2.  But the Giants probably don’t have anything planned for a potential Game 6 or 7 back in San Francisco.

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.