Over at MLB.com Marty Noble writes the obligatory “remembering the baseball people who died in the past year” column.
I sort of hate to see this column every year, but I’m glad we have it too. We need it. We remember guys like George Steinbrenner and Ernie Harwell because they were giants, but we so easily forget people like Ralph Houk. Jose Lima. Mike Cuellar. Many, many others. It’s a long list. As Marty says, too long, but that’s just kind of how death works for better or for worse.
And no, it doesn’t make it any easier to sing the list along with that Jim Carroll song. I tried. Still kind of sad.
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.