Escobar the victim of a prank? Possible, but unlikely

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One possibility that should be considered in the Yunel Escobar eye black thing is that he was the victim of a prank.  The problem with that, though?

Mr. Escobar, a 29-year-old native of Havana, Cuba, has been seen at other games this season with different Spanish phrases written on his eye black.

And

 

Seriously: how does one put those stickers on without once checking to see if they’re straight? And even if someone else wrote those words on there, how did Escobar not see it before putting them on? Were they face down on the counter? And did he look away when he went to peel off the adhesive?

Finally, if it was a prank that was supposed to be directed at Escobar, one can assume it was meant to be a joke on him by people he knew, and was never meant to leave the clubhouse. In that case: childish, but likely not malicious.

But if Escobar put those words on there himself, for whom was the message intended?

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.