Chase Utley has a mild concussion

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Chase Utley was hit in the head with an Eric O’Flaherty pitch in last night’s game. He stayed in, but was later pulled for a pinch hitter after complaining of a headache. Ruben Amaro said afterward that he has a “mild concussion.”

Utley was held back from joining the team on its flight to Milwaukee and will see a doctor in Philadelphia today.  The team believes that this is minor, however, and thinks that Utley could play this weekend. Obviously you don’t mess around with that kind of thing, and given the Phillies’ comfortable lead, an abundance of caution seems to be in order.

Here was the pitch, by the way. I didn’t watch the game, but I’m not aware of any bad blood or anything that would have led to this being a purpose pitch. Utley hadn’t done anything in the game except fly out a couple of times. At the time of the pitch there were two men on with two out in a tie game, so if O’Flaherty was truly trying to send some sort of message, it would have been oddly timed and unprovoked.

Obviously my view is that it is never appropriate to hit someone intentionally, so even if there was something in the past that “justified” this in O’Flaherty’s mind, it wasn’t justified in reality. But really, I can’t see anything here that would suggest he was hit intentionally. I would think the ball simply got away from O’Flaherty.

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.