Alex Rodriguez calls off his legal beagles, says he’s only talking baseball now

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This is a bummer for us but it’s a good move for A-Rod: he says that he has instructed his lawyers to cut the highly-pitched rhetoric against MLB and the Yankees and says that he will only talk abut baseball going forward:

“I’m shutting it all down, I’m shutting it all down.  The focus is to be back on the field. There are so many great stories going on in baseball, and for us, we really just want to focus on playing good baseball, and 100 percent have all the questions be about baseball. If there’s any question in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment.”

Cue the columns, blog posts and comments bout how A-Rod is a phony who is ducking hard qustions from people who claim that they are sick of the drama.

Whatever the case: the Yankees have the best record in the AL East since A-Rod has returned and it’s not impossible to see them making a strong run at the wild card.  You can thank A-Rod later, though.

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.