Blue Jays hire Kevin Seitzer as hitting coach

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Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that Toronto’s new hitting coach is Kevin Seitzer, who replaces Chad Mottola after the Blue Jays ranked eighth among AL teams in scoring this season.

Seizter was previously the Royals’ hitting coach from 2009-2012, during which time Kansas City ranked 12th, 6th, 10th, and 13th among AL teams in scoring. He was fired in October of last year, with the lack of development for Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas cited as key reasons.

Dutton notes that Seitzer and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons worked together on Kansas City’s coaching staff from 2009-2011.

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.