Juan Pierre fits just fine on the Dodgers' bench

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Earlier this week an SI.com article about Manny Ramirez’s return from suspension included the following headline: “With Manny coming back, red-hot Pierre forced to grin and bear it.”

That would have been true a month ago, when Juan Pierre hit .425 in his first 20 games filling in.

However, he batted .244 with a .299 on-base percentage and .283
slugging percentage during the final 30 games of Ramirez’s suspension,
so I’d say that Manny is coming back just in time before Pierre gets
any redder or hotter.

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.