Scott Kazmir ejected in the second inning for correctly questioning umpire Jerry Lane’s judgment

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Athletics starter Scott Kazmir was ejected with one out in the second inning for expressing his bewilderment at umpire Jerry Layne’s judgment. With a 3-2 count against Indians first baseman Jesus Aguilar, Kazmir threw a pitch right down the middle but it was called a ball for a walk. Kazmir seemed dumbfounded at the call and made a comment to Layne. Layne was quick with the heave-ho, ejecting Kazmir from the game almost immediately. It’s not apparent if Kazmir was crude, but based on his demeanor and body language, the left-hander seemed under control.

Manager Bob Melvin came out and harangued Layne for a long time, but was not ejected. As the commenters on the Athletics broadcast mentioned, that Layne let Melvin argue his case for so long seems to indicate that somewhere along the way, Layne realized the error of his ways.

You can see the incident here.

Kazmir was replaced by Dan Otero, who got out of the inning without any further damage.

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.