Let’s stay together: Don Kelly returns to Jim Leyland, Tigers

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Don Kelly is back with the Tigers, agreeing to a minor-league deal that allows manager Jim Leyland to potentially give his favorite player a spot on the bench for another season.

Kelly is a 33-year-old career .232 hitter with a .628 OPS who only plays the corner spots defensively, but Leyland has always talked him up like crazy while also playing him more than he probably should.

And so today, after the news of Kelly re-signing, I imagine Leyland taking a nice long drag off his cigarette(s) and listening to this:

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.