Tim Wakefield honored with Roberto Clemente Award

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MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award is handed out annually to a player who “combines on-field excellence with extraordinary community endeavors.”  Or so says Alex Speier of the great WEEI.com.  This year, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield was given the honor at a press conference before Game 1 of the World Series in San Francisco.  A note from the commish:

“Major League Baseball congratulates Tim Wakefield for being named the recipient of the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “While Tim has put together a wonderful career on the field, his efforts off the field have had a lasting impact on the lives of young people, particularly in New England and Melbourne, Florida. We are proud to honor him with this prestigious Award.”

Wakefield has played a major role in a variety of charities over the past few years in the New England Area, including “Pitching For Kids,” which provides educational grants to needy children in the great Northeast.  Also, he’s raised over $10 million through his annual Tim Wakefield Celebrity Golf Classic and Memorabilia Auction.  It’s great to see those efforts rewarded and Wakefield told reporters that it was the “greatest honor of his career … the ultimate.”

Past Roberto Clemente Award recipients include Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Craig Biggio, Carlos Delgado, John Smoltz, Edgar Martinez, Jamie Moyer and Jim Thome.

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.