Barry Zito plans to keep pitching, but he’s busy surfing now

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Barry Zito is a free agent for the first time since 2007 after getting a $7 million buyout from the Giants to officially end his seven-year, $126 million contract. He’s also 36 years old and coming off a 5.74 ERA, but Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Zito definitely plans to continue pitching.

However, at the moment he’s “not actively looking for a major league job” because … well, he’s busy surfing in Hawaii. “Off the Maui coastline” to be exact.

Baggarly notes that it’s possible Zito could take 2014 off “to reboot” and then attempt a comeback in 2015, but those would be some pretty long odds considering he’s teetering on the edge of not being a big league-caliber pitcher as is.

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.