Former Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy comes out of the closet

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Former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy sat down with Frank Bruni of the New York Times recently and spoke for the first time publicly about his sexuality. He’s gay, and like many people, especially public figures and especially people in the world of professional sports, McClatchy’s time in the closet was difficult, trying and unsatisfying in many, many ways.

But being away from the day-to-day of professional sports since selling the Pirates — and finding himself in a stable relationship — have eased his mind and improved his life.  And about that stable relationship?

For their contentment they have Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, to thank. They were fixed up by someone who worked for Santorum and whom McClatchy first got to know through his professional interactions, when he owned the Pirates, with Santorum’s Senate office.

That’s probably the best thing ever.

Though really, we can’t undersell how being away from the Pirates has likely improved his life too. That place is a misery factory.

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.