The World Baseball Classic to pay salaries of injured players

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This is … unexpected. Buster Olney reports:

Players injured during the World Baseball Classic will have their salaries paid by the WBC organization while they are unable to play for their major league teams, according to an MLB source.

That would mean that players such as Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez will be paid by the WBC during their respective absences.

In other news, the Yankees have retroactively sent Alex Rodriguez to the WBC, where he was totally injured by a tire iron to the knee.

Really, though: it’s my understanding that the WBC is funded primarily by Major League Baseball, with some fairly small portion paid by the professional leagues from the various participating counties. If so, all the teams are, in effect, subsidizing Mark Teixeira’s and Hanley Ramirez’s salary for a bit. Which is weird.

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.