Chuck Greenberg to resign as Rangers CEO today

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This is pretty shocking: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg is going to resign today as the team’s managing partner “to pursue other interests.”

Since “pursuing other interests” is the universal euphemism for “he’s being forced out,” we should expect to hear more about the reasons behind this, but for now no reason was given.  The speculation is that he has clashed with other members of the Rangers’ ownership group, Nolan Ryan and perhaps even Major League Baseball.  He was notably absent from Rangers business meetings over the weekend, the Star-Telegram reports. UPDATE: Jon Heyman hears that the critical clash was with Ryan.

Since taking over the Rangers, Greenberg’s most notable off-the-field conduct has skewed a bit unconventional. He clearly differed with Ryan and Jon Daniels on the pursuit of Cliff Lee, which Greenberg pushed hard for and about which Ryan and Daniels were less enthusiastic. He had a couple of public spats with Yankees President Randy Levine over the nature of New York fans and revenue sharing. As is usually the case, however, I’m guessing that the real driver here is behind-the-scenes stuff.

A resignation basically makes Greenberg invisible as far as baseball is concerned. He was the prime mover in getting the ownership group together, but his personal equity stake int he Rangers is really low, relatively speaking.  After he resigns he’s basically the owner of a very small minority of the team with no power and no say over operations or anything.  I suspect that Nolan Ryan — the only other member of the group who has been a public face of the team — will take over as the managing partner.

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.