Diamondbacks remove play-by-play man Daron Sutton from broadcasts for “personnel matter”

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Daron Sutton has been the Diamondbacks’ television play-by-play announcer since 2007, but last week he was removed from the team’s broadcasts without explanation.

Senior vice president of communications Josh Rawitch said only that “we’ve made a change in the broadcast-talent lineup” and “Daron will be taking some time off.”

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic finds the whole situation very odd, writing: “You can’t remove a play-by-play guy out of the broadcast booth during the middle of the season without explanation, from a team with great television ratings, at a time when the Diamondbacks are finally finding a groove, and expect muted compliance from the masses.”

And yet the Diamondbacks have done just that, with managing general partner Ken Kendrick declining to comment yesterday except to say it was “a personnel matter” and “I suspect the situation will become clear soon enough.”

Adding to the drama is that Sutton is scheduled to work the FOX national game Saturday, which is Diamondbacks versus Brewers.

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.