LOL: Terry Francona apologizes to Bobby Valentine via text

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Terry Francona broadcast last night’s Yankees-Red Sox game for ESPN, but before that the former Boston manager had what Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe describes as “a long conversation with six players and bench coach Tim Bogar” in the Red Sox clubhouse Saturday.

Francona apparently feared that might upset the man who replaced him as manager, so he sent an apology to Bobby Valentine via text message.

“I didn’t think it was any big deal,” Valentine told Abraham. “I didn’t see it. I wasn’t there partaking in the conversation. But what’s the big deal?”

And then Sunday morning, as part of the usual pregame prep for ESPN, Francona and his announcing partners Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser met with Valentine. And according to Valentine the previous day’s clubhouse meeting and subsequent texting didn’t even come up.

Realistically this whole thing isn’t much of a story, but the real headline here is that Valentine turned down an opportunity to make a big deal out of something.

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.