Heyman: Davey Johnson’s contract with the Nationals runs through 2013

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We learned last night that Davey Johnson is expected to be named the next manager of the Nationals, but here’s a minor twist on the story.

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Johnson’s contract will run through the 2013 season. Many expected Johnson to serve as a bridge to a more long-term option, but if Heyman’s report is correct, he figures to be at the helm for some pretty exciting times for the franchise. Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon give them the chance to add three potential stars to an already interesting mix of players.

For what it’s worth, Jim Bowden tweeted early this morning that Johnson is signed through 2012 with a club option for 2013. Yes, Bowden is often incorrect, but you’d have to assume his Nats’ connections are worth something. We’ll learn all the details when the Nationals make an official announcement.

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.