Tom Garfinkel steps down as Padres President/CEO

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You tend not to hear much about team presidents unless they get involved in baseball operations in meaningful ways. Padres team President Tom Garfinkel didn’t do that, but you did hear about him anyway back in April when he said some insensitive things about Zack Greinke’s anxiety disorder and subsequently apologized about it.

Now we’re hearing about him again: he has stepped down as Padres President and CEO according to a team press release.

It’s kind of surprising he lasted this long as he was a holdover of Jeff Moorad’s management team. Moorad, you’ll recall, put in years trying to buy the Padres on an installment/rent-to-own plan of sorts before having his bid rejected by Major League Baseball. With Garfinkel’s departure the last remnants of the old republic have been swept away.

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.