Terry Collins cracks down on the Mets pregame card playing

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Great, there go the Mets chances of signing Rickey Henderson and Bobby Bonilla again …

Manager Terry Collins told The Post yesterday his team rules, many of which will be unveiled today when he addresses his full squad for the first time, will include a limit on card playing in the clubhouse.

“It’s my understanding [card playing] was an issue last year,” Collins said. “They will be allowed to play cards, but there is going to be a cutoff time before the game.”

That’s from Mike Puma of the New York Post, who adds, from the “I didn’t know that” department, that hitting coach Howard Johnson apparently went ballistic on the team during a road trip last season, saying that they were paying more attention to cards than they were baseball.  Of course, this wasn’t long after a bunch of “the Mets are gonna fire Howard Johnson” speculation began swirling around, so maybe HoJo was just a bit irritable.

David Wright is quoted in the article and it’s implied that he was one of the main card-playing offenders last year.  He’s fine with the rule, but he plays the “if cards are really a distraction you’ve got bigger problems” card, which suggests that he thinks the rule is kind of silly.

For what it’s worth, I imagine this is like anything else: if your team wins a lot you can have virgin sacrifices ten minutes before the National Anthem and no one is gonna care. If you lose, you have to expect someone — especially a new someone like Collins — is going to single out small things that can be easily changed in the name of tone-setting.

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.