Vernon Wells had himself a game

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Everyone — present company included — laughed when the Yankees acquired Vernon Wells. Vernon Wells and the Yankees are laughing now. He’s hitting .287/.341/.504 with seven homers. When the Yankees needed someone — anyone — to step up while the big guys are all out on the disabled list, Vernon Wells stepped up and then some.

Last night may have been his best game. He was 3 for 4 with a homer and two driven in.  And to top it all off, after a career in which he’s never played anywhere besides the outfield, he played the ninth inning at third base, where he fielded a grounder and looked pretty darn slick making the putout.  A video of all of his game highlights is here, with the defensive play at the end.

What an odd career Wells has had. Greatness, then a couple of years where he was among the least valuable players in the game, followed by more greatness. And he’s on, like, the third time through that cycle.

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.