Padres reliever Alex Torres becomes the first major league pitcher to wear a protective cap

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Padres left-hander Alex Torres made history in his relief appearance Saturday night against the Giants, becoming the first major league pitcher to wear a padded cap in a regular-season game …

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That screenshot comes from rehabbing Rockies left-hander Brett Anderson, a good follow on Twitter. The thing looks ridiculous, but Torres told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune late Saturday night that “it doesn’t feel bad — the difference between the regular hat and this hat is not really that big.”

Manufactured by isoBlox and approved by MLB, these caps are available to any player who wants one.

Torres gave up a run on two walks and a hit in Saturday’s appearance, but let’s not blame the headwear.

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.