Ryan Dempster is unsure what to think about Carlos Zambrano

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Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster was on a radio show today and he was asked about Carlos Zambrano and whether or not he would be welcomed back to the Cubs.

Dempster was pretty sensible about it all in my view. He noted that some stuff would have to happen before Zambrano could come back and noted that, whatever Zambrano does, he may not be back anyway.  But he didn’t slam the guy either, noting that off the field Zambrano is a nice friendly guy that everyone likes. But …

“As a human being, as a person, Carlos has been great. He’s been so supportive of me and my family and anything that we’ve ever done. I think something just happens when it comes to being out there on the field that makes him do certain things, and I don’t know the answers to that.”

Not that I’m going with the esteemed Dr. Dempster as an authority here, but there’s probably a lot to that. Everyone wants to ascribe selfish or jerkish motivations to the guy for his behavior. I wonder if it’s not the case that the guy is actually mentally ill in some way and just can’t deal with the ups and downs of athletic competition.

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.