Judge rules that the Mets owners have the burden of proof in the upcoming Madoff trial

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Jim Forkin of CNBC reports the judge in the upcoming Madoff/Wilpon/Mets trial ruled this afternoon that it is the defendants — meaning the Mets owners — who have the burden of proof. Not the bankruptcy trustee.

This is a pretty big deal.  I haven’t seen the exact ruling, but it would seem that rather than forcing trustee Irving Picard to prove that the Mets owners were willfully blind to Madoff’s scheme while investing with him, it is now on the Mets owners to prove that they didn’t know that it was a scam or, that they behaved prudently at all turns or something along those lines.

The exact bogey they have to meet is key here. Depending on how it’s phrased, it could put the Mets owners in a prove-a-negative situation, or something close to it.

No matter what it is, however, it’s way easier to play defense than offense in these things, and thus the case just got that much tougher for Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and the Mets.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.