A “well-known” retired ballplayer is the focus of an insider trading probe

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A lot of ballplayers retire comfortably in sunny California. Some, the Securities and Exchange Commission believe, may be retiring too comfortably:

An ongoing insider trading investigation by U.S. prosecutors in Los Angeles is focusing on a retired, well-known baseball player and several other former athletes whose names have not yet been disclosed, said two people familiar with the situation.

The former athletes under scrutiny – mainly a group of professional baseball players – are allegedly part of what one U.S. investigatory government official described as “a loose federation of people” sharing important market-moving information about various companies before it becomes public.

Last year former Orioles third baseman Doug DeCinces got popped for $2.5 million for trading on an inside tip.  I grew up with the guy, but I’m not sure that I’d call him a “well-known” baseball player, so it’s likely a bigger name than that.

Wouldn’t it blow your mind if it was Canseco? And he was playing crazy in order to hide the fact that he was masterminding a sophisticated insider trading ring?  That would be pretty cool.

(thanks to Dennis T. for the heads up)

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.