Sheffield “disrespected” by Rays, now 99.9% retired

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Remember when Gary Sheffield showed up to the Winter Meetings and said he was just there “to advise” a couple of young players?  And then remember when he later admitted that he had an interest in playing again, specifically for the Rays?

You might also remember that Rays manager Joe Maddon took Sheffield out to dinner as a courtesy and to “get to know him,” but that the Tampa Bay front office did not want to add a 42-year-old who sat out for all of the 2010 season.

As expected, nothing ever came of that dinner.  The now well-run Rays don’t throw money at veterans, especially veterans that they have no use for.  Maddon was simply being nice in listening to what Sheffield had to say.

Yet, Sheffield went on to tell ESPN 1040 in Tampa on Thursday that he “felt a little disrespected” that the Rays never bothered to call him once the Winter Meetings ended.  The .292/.393/.514 career hitter said that he is now “99.9 percent” committed to retirement because his hometown team won’t have him.

That Joe Maddon is a real jerk.  Or something.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.