Joe Maddon bought himself a present with his contract extension money

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Fresh off a three-year extension with the Rays, manager Joe Maddon decided to get himself “a new contract present.”

Maddon bought a 1956 Chevy BelAir in Arizona, had it restored and updated, and then got it shipped to Rays camp in Florida so he can drive it around spring training.

Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he initially wanted a Charger or a Roadrunner or a Barracuda, but couldn’t find one and ended up choosing the BelAir over a 1957 Chevy Nomad.

According to Maddon his wife was “all for it” because “she’s kind of like a guy sometimes”:

She likes big flat-screen TVs, she likes watching football on Sundays, she likes fast cars, she used to drink martinis, though she kind of toned that down a bit. She’s got a lot of great man-cave qualities about her.

Congrats to Joe Maddon, for the car and everything else.

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.