Robin Ventura is giving out votes of confidence

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With the White Sox in last place despite a perfectly decent pitching staff hitting coach Jeff Manto is on the hot seat. Chicago’s lineup ranks dead last in the American League in runs scored, but manager Robin Ventura gave Manto a vote of confidence:

It’s one of those it’s part of the game. I see what Jeff’s doing. I’m behind him because I know how hard he works, what he’s put into it and what he’s teaching. The things he talks about, he and Harold [Baines], I’m definitely in his corner.

Harold Baines is Manto’s assistant hitting coach, so the White Sox are actually employing two people devoted to coaching the league’s lowest-scoring offense. Ventura also suggested “you look at me too” when criticism is being thrown around, which is one of those be careful what you wish for things. Whatever the case, once the votes of confidence start up the clock is ticking on someone getting fired.

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.