MLB switching from land line bullpen phones to cell phones

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MLB and T-Mobile just announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement which makes the former the Official Wireless Sponsor of the latter. That’s well and good because business is business, but it has a baseball implication too: wireless bullpen phones. The setup is going to look like this:

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It’ll be a joy to watch Charlie Manuel try to use one of these. You think they’d try to ease him into it with a flip phone with big numbers or something.

Anyway, the T-Mobile phones will operate on a closed point-to-point network, which the league and T-Mobile illustrate thusly:

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As long as it works.

As for that: the test run is going to come in the World Baseball Classic, where Joe Torre will be using it as he manages the US team. Gonna be hard for him to program the thing to NOT automatically call Scott Proctor, but I’m sure he’ll figure it out by then.

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.