Mariano Rivera “intends to retire” after this season, will make announcement Saturday

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Last year Mariano Rivera changed his mind about retiring after knee surgery ended his season, but Buster Olney of ESPN.com writes that “it’s an open secret” the Yankees closer “intends to retire” following this season.

In fact, according to Olney “that announcement figures to be very soon, perhaps Saturday.”

Obviously the motivation to return from a significant injury played a part in Rivera deciding to play another season, but he’s 43 years old and has been pondering retirement since at least this time last year. On the other hand, it’s worth noting that when players announce an entire season ahead of time that they plan to retire there are lots of examples of minds later being changed.

I’m far from a Yankees fan, but I’m hoping Rivera pitches forever, basically. Short of that, at least he’ll get a Chipper Jones-style sendoff tour at every ballpark, although Rivera didn’t necessarily strike me as the type of player who’d want that attention.

UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that there’s a Saturday morning press conference scheduled for an official announcement.

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.