Major League Baseball announces game times for the 2014 schedule

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Since the ESPN Sunday Night games were announced earlier today, you had to figure that the rest of the schedule — as far as game times — would fall in line later in the day. And they just fell in line. Among the details:

  • The opening series in Sydney, Australia between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers will take place on Saturday, March 22nd at 7pm Sydney time.  That means midnight in L.A. and Phoenix, 3AM back east. Which, yes, is inconvenient for some of us, but the point is to bring baseball to Australians, not satisfy people in Ohio, so there’s not a valid complaint there. Not that it will stop people from complaining. The Sunday game will be at 6pm Pacific and 9pm Eastern.
  • On Sunday, March 30th, the non-Australian portion of the season will begin with the San Diego Padres hosting the Dodgers at 8:05 Eastern, 5:05 Pacific.
  • Thirteen games will be played on traditional Opening Day on Monday, March 31st.  The first full slate of 15 games will be played on Wednesday, April 2nd.
  • The final day of the 2014 regular season, which features 12 divisional match-ups, is scheduled for Sunday, September 28th.

Go check your team’s schedule for all of the specific game times, as they should be loaded in there now.

Play ball. Eventually, anyway.

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.