Red Sox to hire Juan Nieves as pitching coach

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Despite reports that manager John Farrell wanted Rick Peterson as his pitching coach Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says the Red Sox “are expected” to give the job to Juan Nieves.

Nieves has spent the past five seasons as the White Sox’s bullpen coach and also spent nearly a decade as a pitching coach in the minors.

Before getting into coaching he pitched for the Brewers from 1986-1988, becoming the second-youngest player in baseball history to throw a no-hitter, but arm problems ended his career at age 23.

Nieves made headlines a couple years ago for saying during a radio interview that White Sox pitchers should intentionally throw at Twins hitters to “see if you can start a fight.”

Nieves takes over a pitching staff that was coached by Farrell from 2006-2010 and ranked 12th and 9th among AL teams in ERA during the two seasons he spent as Blue Jays manager.

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.