Brian Cashman never worried Joe Girardi would leave Yankees for Cubs

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There was a ton of speculation about Joe Girardi leaving the Yankees for the Cubs as a free agent manager, but New York general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday that he was never all that worried.

Cashman told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com that the Cubs’ interest in Girardi was “expected” after they fired Dale Sveum, but added:

I went to Joe. I said: “If this is something you want, let me know and we’ll let you go.” But he said he wanted to stay, so we were able to work it out. I never felt he was leaving us. If he wasn’t on board, then we would have cut him loose and let him talk to anybody.

And of course Girardi got a nice bump in salary for staying, so it worked out well for him 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.