It’s official: Matt Williams is the Nationals’ new manager

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Matt Williams has officially been hired to replace Davey Johnson as Nationals manager, with a press conference scheduled tomorrow.

In announcing the move general manager Mike Rizzo said: “He’s been someone on my radar as a potential manager for years.”

Williams has been serving as Arizona’s third base coach under manager Kirk Gibson, but was the Diamondbacks’ third baseman way back when Rizzo was their scouting director.

No word yet on if Johnson’s bench coach, Randy Knorr, will stick around in the same job with Williams after interviewing for the manager gig himself. Williams, who played 17 seasons in the majors and made six All-Star teams before going into coaching, is 47 years old.

UPDATE: Knorr is returning, so the Nationals get their top outside candidate and keep their favorite in-house guy too.

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.