Gary Tuck resigning as Red Sox bullpen coach for personal reasons led to some speculation that Jason Varitek might be looked at to replace him on short notice, but apparently that’s not going to happen.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com talked to a source and reports “it does not appear that Varitek is being considered–or even wants to be considered–for a full-time return to uniform.”
Varitek remains in the organization as a special assistant to the front office, but Speier notes that in retiring he wanted to spend more time with his family and jumping back in as a coach would ruin that.
All of which means the Red Sox are looking for a new bullpen coach with two weeks until spring training.
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.