Woozy Buck Showalter exits in first, returns in third inning

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Orioles manager Buck Showalter was examined in the dugout and helped back into the clubhouse in the top of the first inning Monday night during Baltimore’s game against the Red Sox.

It’s unclear what might have happened with Showalter, but he wasn’t very steady on his feet as he exited.  He didn’t seem particularly alert before departing, even when the trainer shined a light into his eyes as part of the quick exam on the bench.

So, let’s just hope Buck is OK.

7:20 p.m. EDT: The Orioles have stated that Showalter suffered a minor ankle injury earlier in the day, which might help explain why Showalter needed help getting down to the clubhouse as he left. There has to be more going on than that alone, though. Showalter would have managed through a minor ankle injury.

8:45 p.m. EDT: Apparently, it really was a false alarm.  Looking much more like his usual self, Showalter returned to his seat on the bench to begin the third inning.

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.