Via Deadspin, here’s a report of WBC espionage from Taiwan:
According to the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the South Korean governing body of pro baseball, four Taiwanese advance scouts posed as umpire trainees to gain entrance to a practice game at Dou Liou Stadium between the South Korean national team and a South Korea pro club, the NC Dinos.
They basically just showed up dressed as umpires, got into the park and started timing pitchers and things with the idea of giving Taiwan an edge in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Taiwan apologized and denied any official involvement, leaving their spies out in the cold. No word if the cyanide capsules in the spies molars malfunctioned or if the spies simply lost their nerve.
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.