Don Mattingly won’t talk contract status at “awkward” press conference

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Don Mattingly is unhappy about the possibility of entering 2014 in the final year of his contract, but the Dodgers manager declined to address the topic yesterday during what Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times called an “awkward” press conference.

Two months ago there was speculation that Mattingly might quit if he didn’t get a contract extension–and his right-hand man, bench coach Trey Hillman, got fired–so the situation has calmed down considerably since then, but his quotes still had plenty of bite to them:

At this point, it’s not worth talking about. I think that day I was fairly clear. Like anything else that’s happened with me in the past, you talk about it and you don’t continue to talk about it. I don’t think anybody really wants to hear about my situation. They’d rather hear about the players, what we’re trying to do, how we’re trying to win.

Asked if he’s talked to the Dodgers about a new contract since October, he replied: “I’m happy with the way everything’s going.” And then, as Hernandez documents in his article, Mattingly answered a series of similar questions with non-answer answers to make it clear that “happy” isn’t the most accurate word choice.

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.