Dominican players can always count on home cooking when they’re on the road

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Reader emdash gives me the heads up on a neat story from James Wagner at the Washington Post. It’s about how a network of Dominican players in the majors makes a point to supply visiting Dominican players with Dominican food when they come to town:

Do you know how hard it is to find a Dominican restaurant in Cincinnati or Minneapolis?

So Dominican players — even those who don’t know each other well — take care of each other through their own version of the food network. The Dominicans on the home team are responsible for sending food to their countrymen on the visiting team. Albert Pujols (Los Angeles Angels), David Ortiz (Boston) and Nelson Cruz (Baltimore) always bring food for visiting Dominican players. Soriano’s wife or a family friend will make an extra helping of Dominican food so that he can do the same. Robinson Cano (Seattle), Francisco Liriano (Pittsburgh), Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee), Jose Reyes (Toronto) and Adrian Beltre (Texas) take part, too.

Wagner says that it’s believed the tradition started with Vlad Guerrero — as if he wasn’t awesome enough — and has become really well-established. He talks about the wives and mothers of the players who spend their time cooking to keep the tradition going.

Very cool story.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.