The Braves plan to break ground on their new ballpark this summer

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves and Cobb County have sent out their request for proposals for the construction of the new Braves ballpark up in SuburbiaLand. The requests outline the expected construction schedule, which includes ground being broken this summer and construction of the actual ballpark beginning next February. Completion is scheduled for February 2017, just before the season begins.

They are looking for contractors experienced in ballpark construction:

“The (Cobb) stadium will be unique, though many of its features will emulate those of similar and recently built MLB ballparks,” according to the document. “It will contain special features that are specifically tailored to the needs of (the Braves) and will be cohesive with the (planned adjacent mixed-use development).”

Features which emulate those of similar and recently built MLB ballparks should include things like grass, bases and garish moving sculptures that spring into action when home runs are hit. Special features specifically tailored to the needs of the Braves: a big sign that says “BARVES.”

Or so I’m hoping.

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.