Grant Balfour says he’s totally healthy, is mystified by the Orioles backing out

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Earlier today the Orioles backed out of two-year, $15 million deal with closer Grant Balfour, citing concerns about Balfour’s shoulder. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Balfour today, and he says he’s 100%:

Balfour stopped short of criticizing the Orioles, saying that they must’ve just chosen to go in a different direction. Of course that’s just diplomacy in action. Balfour is likely pretty angry because any other team that signs him now is going to offer way less money in light of the Orioles’ misgivings. He’s now been thrust into make-good land.

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.