More details emerge about the kidnapping of Wilson Ramos

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Nats catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in Venezuela over 24 hours ago. His captors have yet to contact the Ramos family seeking a ransom and authorities are short on promising leads.

But El Universal, a Venezuelan newspaper based in Caracas, has uncovered a few more details about what exactly took place on Wednesday evening in the town of Valencia:

  • Ramos signed an autograph for a young fan who had been playing stickball just before the kidnappers pulled up.
  • An orange 2007 Chevrolet Captiva was the primary vehicle used in the kidnapping, but another truck was also involved. The Chevy had no plates and the windows were heavily tinted.
  • Two men, with their faces uncovered, got out of the Chevy and approached Ramos. One wrapped his arm around the 24-year-old’s neck and pressed a 9mm pistol against his head.
  • Ramos was with his father Abraham, his brother David, and a cousin. He was the only one taken.
As Craig noted earlier, the odds of Ramos being released unharmed are high, especially once a ransom request is made. But a full day has passed with no signs of progress. And that’s pretty damn frightening.

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.