There is a museum devoted to Ichiro. And it’s run by his mom.

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Geoff Baker is in Japan, getting ready for the season-opening series between the Mariners and A’s.  He got there a couple of days before the team and has been doing so sightseeing. One thing he saw: the Ichiro museum.  It’s right in front of his parents’ house. And his mom and dad run it. And they saved everything:

There are family photographs of 1-month-old Ichiro Suzuki being held by his grandmother, of Ichiro on a sixth-grade field trip, of Ichiro pony riding with his father at a local racetrack. And then, there is the desk Ichiro used to do his homework in elementary school.

The desk has been set up with a mannequin — depicting a younger Ichiro — sitting at a chair with a jacket with a Men’s Vache Club label tossed over it.

That’s … special.  I can only imagine what would happen if Ichiro himself came into the place an toured it.  It would probably be something like this.

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.