The Red Sox scuttle plans to bring the right field fence in

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You’ll recall back in October the Red Sox sought approval from the Boston Landmarks Commission to widen Fenway Park’s bullpen by about nine feet which, in turn, would have made hitting homers to right nine feet easier.  They have released a statement, however, saying they’ve changed their minds:

“The Red Sox recently sent a letter to the Secretary of State’s office withdrawing a request to consider expansion of the right field bullpen area this off-season. As we moved through the review process over the last several months, issues arose regarding implementation that required additional discussion and consideration of other design possibilities.  Given the tight construction timeline we are operating on to have the ballpark ready for Opening Day 2011, and the fact that we’re already deep into the off-season, plus the impact any work on the bullpen area would have on other work currently being done on the right field seating bowl, we decided to take this project off the table for 2010-2011 off-season.  We are going to review the feedback received during this process, and determine the next best steps.  It is still on our radar screen, but there is no immediate timetable for this project and, as we do on an annual basis, we will review all potential off-season projects as we get closer to the end of next season.”

Unless and until I’m told otherwise, I’m going to assume that it was all a big scam designed to lure Carl Crawford, who desperately wanted a short porch, and now that he’s signed, they’re pulling the rug out from under him.

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.