Yankees hoping Lou Piniella will accept advisory role

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When Lou Piniella stepped down from his post as Cubs manager in August, he did so in order to make time for his ailing mother.

It wasn’t the way he wanted to go out and he expressed great emotion during his final press conference about leaving the game of baseball behind.

Good news, Lou.  You can always come back.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner had a 30-minute conversation with Piniella on Thursday and offered the 67-year-old an open invitation to return to the game in the form of a front-office advisor for the Yanks.

Piniella played outfield in New York for 11 seasons before turning to coaching.  He won a World Series championship in pinstripes in 1977 and 1978, and he posted a 224-193 managerial record for the Yankees from 1986 until the middle of the 1988 season.

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.