Yankees player plays the “no one believed in us” card

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Normally that’s crazy, but actually, in this case, Kevin Youkilis was probably right. The Yankees were considered dead and buried by everyone before a pitch was thrown this season, and that was just irrational. But as Youk tells Mark Feinsand, the Yankees haven’t given up even though, as strange as it sounds to say it, no one believed in them:

“It’s a good thing; guys are swinging the bats well, and putting together great at-bats. I think we all had confidence within ourselves. And that’s probably been the biggest talk – no one’s had confidence in us. So we stick together as a team, keep trying to have good at-bats.”

The bigger question is whether this is still the case when the season is more than a week and change old, but his point is well-taken. Even if it’s weird to hear it with respect to the Yankees.

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.