Former Yankees prospect Brandon Weeden returns to mound

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Cleveland Browns first-round pick and former Yankees minor leaguer Brandon Weeden threw out the first pitch for the Indians tonight, missing high and inside.

It must have brought back memories.

Weeden pitched for five years in the minors, four in the Yankees’ system, after the Bombers made him a second-round pick in 2002 and went 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA and a 344/213 K/BB ratio in 374 1/3 innings before deciding to give up baseball for football.

Of course, things got a lot better for him with his new sport. After redshirting in 2007 and spending two years as a backup, Weeden became one of college football’s top quarterbacks the last two years, and despite his advanced age, the Browns made him the 22nd selection in April’s draft.

After the first pitch today, Weeden said it was the first time in four years he had picked up a baseball.

“I don’t miss it,” Weeden said of the minors. “If I had made it all the way up here (the majors) I’m sure it would be a different story.”

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.