Darryl Strawberry to run to the top of Empire State Building to support cancer research

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Two Darryl Strawberry stories in one week? Either I’m nostalgic or we need spring training to get here real soon.

In all seriousness, I’m mentioning Strawberry for a very good reason this time, as he plans to run to the top of the Empire State Building to raise money for cancer research. It’s all part of the annual Empire State Building Run-Up event, which will take place on Tuesday, February 1 at 10:30 a.m.

This is no small feat, even for a former eight-time All-Star outfielder. It takes 1,576 steps and 86 flights of stairs to get all the way to the observation deck.

Strawberry will be one of around 100 participants in the race, according to the Associated Press. The event will raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. You can find more information here. This is a cause close to Strawberry’s heart, as he is a two-time cancer survivor himself.

As always, I’m rooting for you, Darryl.

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.