The Marlins sign Casey Kotchman

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The Miami Marlins just announced that they signed Casey Kotchman.  Not gonna say Casey Kotchman doesn’t streak across my radar very often, but I had no idea that he wasn’t on a team. This time next year I imagine he’ll replace Miguel Cairo as that guy I am shocked to learn is still in baseball once or twice a year.

Kotchman hit .229/.280/.333 with 12 home runs, 55 RBI and a .612 OPS in 142 games with the Indians last season. Presumably he’d back up Logan Morrison. Or cover first in the unlikely event Morrison plays some in left.

Or right if Jeff Loria trades Giancarlo Stanton for some magic beans two days after suggesting he purchase property in south Florida.

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.