Bobby Valentine dishes on the 2012 Red Sox, to dress up like an elf next month

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Bobby Valentine spoke at Salem State University last night as part of a speaker’s series. Peter Gammons was the moderator and audience questions were taken.  Some highlights from CSNNewEngland.com:

  • The front office wanted “a quieter, calmer” version of Bobby Valentine during the season, so he was told to tone down his usually effusive comments to the press;
  • He’s happy about his future and thinks it is bright. “I have a million plans, running around the country, trying to make my life worthwhile,” he said. Most immediate plan: “In December, he will rappel down the side of the tallest building in his hometown of Stamford, Conn., as a charitable fundraiser.  He will be dressed as an elf.”  Brian Cashman has done this several times, actually. It’s for a good cause.
  • He doesn’t think the 2012 Red Sox should be defined by their record and believes that “the team is going to be better because of all the nonsense this year.”
  • Takes a swipe at Kelly Shoppach, who he said was always begging for playing time and the front office, whose attitude and leaks he criticizes, and Daniel Bard. Also, when asked by an audience member what it was like to watch Daniel Bard “slowly implode,” Valentine said “you you thought that was slow?”

Someone should probably hire him now. Not my team or the team of anyone I care about, but someone.

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.