Chase Utley = Don Mattingly

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Chase Utley has had an amazing career. And now it looks like it is being derailed in a major way due to injuries. And, as Dash Treyhorn notes over at The Good Phight, we’ve seen this before:

Don Mattingly was really, really good for the latter half of the 80s. After that, it all went downhill … Like Mattingly, Utley’s reign lasted six years, from 2005 to 2010, when he hit .298/.388/.523 with 162 homers and 572 RBIs in 869 games.

Treyhorn notes in an extended assessment of each of their careers that Utley is much older than Mattingly was when his injury-induced slide began, but the parallels are pretty striking otherwise.  As are the likely Hall of Fame implications.

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.