Terry Francona fined, avoids a suspension, for his dustup with Joe West

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Terry Francona was tossed from last Friday’s game after arguing an Angel Hernandez balk call (Really? Angel Hernandez called a controversial balk? Shocking.)  In the course of that fracas, Francona and Joe West went at it a bit and bumped into each other several times, mostly at Joe West’s instigation, it seemed.

The disciplinary verdict is in: Francona was fined an undisclosed amount, but he will not be suspended. And based on Francona’s comments as reported in the Boston Herald today, it sounds like Joe West may have been hit harder than Francona got hit:

Francona declined to reveal the amount but praised MLB personnel for having “a pretty good sense of humor about it.” Francona said he told Matt McKendry, specialist of on-field operations, “ ‘I’ll pay it when I get to New York,’ and he said he doesn’t want any Canadian money, even though I think it’s worth more than ours.” Francona said he thought that “(West) should have fouled out, I thought I took the charge.”

I’ve complained in the past that umpires should get disciplined for their bad behavior too. I’ve been told by those inside the game, however, that they do get disciplined, even if we don’t hear much about it. Why we don’t hear much about it is another topic — my guess; the league worries that a long disciplinary record against an ump may erode the respect players have for them — but it’s good to know that they get smacked too.

And if the guys in the league office are joking around with Francona about all of this and not suspending him despite contact with an umpire, you can probably assume that West’s wallet is a lot lighter right now.

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.