Brad Ausmus withdraws from Astros’ managerial race

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Brad Ausmus interviewed for the open Houston managerial position, but he withdrew from consideration for the job on Friday.

In a text message to MLB.com, he attributed the decision to “personal reasons” and said he wishes the Astros “the best of luck.”

The 43-year-old Ausmus spent nine of his 18-big league seasons with Houston, playing for the team in 1997-98 and 2001-08 before finishing up with the Dodgers in 2009-10. He was widely viewed as a future manager during his playing career.

Whether Ausmus’ decision had anything to do with his current gig as Team Israel’s manager in the World Baseball Classic is unclear. Assuming that Israel is able to advance out of the preliminary rounds, Ausmus would be tied up with the team for a portion of March, something that would definitely interfere with any sort of major league job.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.