Blue Jays change policy, would block John Farrell from interviewing with Red Sox

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There’s been some speculation that the Red Sox may be interested in hiring former pitching coach and current Blue Jays manager John Farrell to replace Terry Francona.

Because of that the Blue Jays have changed their policy about granting teams permission to speak to their employees and team president Paul Beeston released this statement:

Due to the distraction caused by media speculation regarding our employee permission policy, the Toronto Blue Jays have amended their policy and will not grant permission for lateral moves.

In other words, Farrell wouldn’t be allowed to interview for the Red Sox’s manager gig as long as he’s under contract as the Blue Jays’ manager.

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.