Jose Valverde: “It’s over for the Yankees”

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Put your pitchforks down, because Valverde wasn’t taunting or being provocative. He was just being Jose Valverde, which we are coming to learn is a thing. Half joking, half wishful thinking, but generally not caring.

Still, he did say it, and it’s rather fun to see someone eschew the “we gotta play ’em one game at a time” card:

“It’s over for the Yankees. No more. One hundred percent. I want it over, because I want my team in the second round.” … “Is this a prediction, or your hope?” Valverde was asked by a reporter. Valverde reached out and good-naturedly put his hand on the shoulder of the reporter and said, “What do you think?”

It sounded more like a man blowing off some happy steam after a tough save in which he threw more pitches than he’s used to throwing.

Although, I suppose I’d be less inclined to take that as a joke if he said it following a Tigers’ victory tonight because A.J. Burnett would have to start the elimination game for the Yankees tomorrow in such an event.  God, that has to happen.  For the love of all that is holy, that has to happen.

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.