Carlos Marmol’s abuse case sent to higher court in Dominican Republic

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Via Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Dominican newspaper El Nacional reports that Carlos Marmol appeared at a hearing Friday regarding a domestic abuse case in the Dominican Republic. The judge sent the case to a higher court, which will render a ruling at an unknown date.

Marmol had a criminal complaint filed against him last week by Miledys Mejia Cepeda, but no charges have been filed. Marmol’s attorney, Nelson Pimentel, has denied the allegations and filed a counter complaint, accusing the woman of extortion and blackmail. The Cubs sent attorneys down to the Dominican Republic to look into the matter and team president Theo Epstein believes Marmol will be exonerated.

“We take any accusation of this nature seriously,” Epstein told the Tribune. “All the information we could gather supports Carlos’ contention that he is innocent of any wrongdoing. We expect this matter to be behind him soon.”

While Cepeda’s attorneys asked that Marmol be barred from leaving the country until the case is resolved, the reliever’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said he’s still expected to report to spring training on Monday.

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.