Rockies hire Dante Bichette as new hitting coach

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Colorado wanted Jason Giambi to retire as a player and become a hitting coach, but the 41-year-old apparently isn’t ready to call it a career yet and the Rockies have moved on.

Today the team announced the hiring of Dante Bichette as hitting coach.

Bichette and first-year manager Walt Weiss were Rockies teammates from 1994-1997 and if nothing else Bichette is more qualified than anyone when it comes to taking advantage of Coors Field, where he hit .358 with a 1.035 OPS in 397 games while being mediocre away from high altitude.

And most importantly the Rockies hiring Bichette gives me an excuse to link to this picture of him again. Never gets old.

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.