Chicago Sun-Times eager to be Marlon Byrd’s judge, jury, executioner

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OK, I’m dubious about Marlon Byrd’s claims that his positive test for a breast-cancer-treating, estrogen-blocking, steroid-masking drug had nothing to do with enhancing his performance. A couple of bigwigs at the Chicago Sun-Times are anything but, however. They’re positive Byrd is lying through his teeth:

Now, I’m sure De Luca, Deputy Managing Editor, News and Sports, and Morrissey, columnist, have done exhaustive research on the topic. That topic being how to kick people when they’re down. Byrd might be a career cheater, for all I know. Or he might well be as clean as anyone in the sport. One thing I’m pretty sure about: if he recently started cheating, he’s pretty terrible at it.

Oh, and there’s one more relevant fact: the drug found in Byrd’s system isn’t performance enhancing. But don’t let that stop the snark-fest guys.

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.