Who declared it “Lance Berkman Day” around here? In any case, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are the latest team to express interest in the veteran slugger, joining the Rangers, Astros, Orioles and Rays.
Of course, Berkman had a pretty miserable time after being traded from the Astros to the Yankees in 2010, as he batted just .255/.358/.349 with one homer and a .707 OPS in 37 games. It’s not clear whether he’d consider a return to New York given that he’s actively talking to both Texas teams. But hey, you can’t blame Brian Cashman for trying to infuse some youth into the roster.
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.