Tests come back normal after umpire Jerry Layne is hit in head with broken bat

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UPDATE: Good news. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that tests on Layne came back normal. However, he’ll sit out the rest of weekend series as a precaution.

8:58 PM: Scary moment in tonight’s game between the Twins and Reds, as home plate umpire Jerry Layne was hit on the left side of his head by a broken bat in the fourth inning.

The incident took place when Devin Mesoraco’s bat cracked on a ground ball. The barrel of the bat connected with Layne, who stumbled for a moment before falling to the ground. He was unable to continue in the game, but walked off the field under his own power. Second base umpire Bob Davidson took over behind the plate.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that Layne was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati for examination. He never lost consciousness and the early word is that he didn’t suffer a concussion, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears that he’ll be checked for fractures of his orbital bone.

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.