Pudge Rodriguez to catch Nolan Ryan’s first pitch tomorrow. This bugs me a bit.

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Anthony Andro of the Star-Ledger reports that Ivan Rodriguez is going to catch the first pitch thrown out by Nolan Ryan before Game 3 of the World Series tomorrow.

Look, I know it’s Pudge, and that Pudge will always and forever thought of as a Ranger — and yes, I’m fully prepared to admit that I may be overrating — but does anyone else think it’s, well, sorta wrong for an active player under contract to be participating in pregame ceremonies for another team’s World Series game?

This is not like those situations in which a player — say, Derek Lowe, for example — takes part in his old team’s championship ring ceremony on Opening Day the next season. At least those guys were part of what is being celebrated. Rodriguez had nothing to do with the 2010 Texas Rangers’ success. He was the Nationals’ catcher and remains under contract with them for 2011. In very real terms he was competing against the Texas Rangers in 2010, in the same way all teams are competing with one another for the World Series title. Should he really be shaking hands, doing the photo ops and participating in the ceremony for the Rangers when he’s still a Nat?

I know Pudge is loved in Texas, but until he retires, he’s just a guy the Rangers used to know.  And in some way, this feels like a guy inviting his ex-girlfriend to his wedding.

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.