Robin Ventura finally names a closer and it’s Addison Reed

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For months Robin Ventura has played coy about the White Sox’s closer role, refusing to give anyone that title, but yesterday he finally relented and made official what has been obvious: The job belongs to rookie Addison Reed.

“He’s earned that,” Ventura told Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago. “I feel comfortable with him in there. That’s who we’d be using if we’re winning. I don’t think he care. I just think he just wants the ball and pitches.”

Reed was the seemingly obvious choice to replace Sergio Santos at closer the whole time, but for whatever reason Ventura decided to go with fellow rookie Hector Santiago early on despite little in his track record suggesting he could thrive in the role.

On the other hand Reed has done nothing but dominate since the White Sox drafted him in the third round two years ago, storming through the minors and then beginning his big-league career with a 29/8 K/BB ratio in 21 innings. And if things go according to plan for the White Sox, Reed, and Ventura the first-year manager might not have to name another closer until he’s a 10th-year manager.

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.