The Dodgers sift through the scrap heap

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After a week the Dodgers would like to forget, and with a suddenly big series against the Giants looming next weekend, the Dodgers may be looking for an arm:

“They’re looking,” Torre said of the front office. “We talked about the waiver wire. There is a possibility that something can happen.”

Among the possibilities is right-hander Vicente Padilla, a former All-Star who the Rangers designated for assignment Friday despite an 8-6 record in 18 starts . . . Another possibility, given Torre’s affinity for battle-tested veterans, is right-hander John Smoltz, who the Red Sox designated for assignment Saturday.

It strikes me that a team who is having trouble scoring runs and loses games late due to bullpen implosions might have different priorities than looking at problem, castoff starting pitchers.

Not that there’s much you can do with the lineup. The Dodgers gotta live or die with the guys they have there at this point of the season, and reason — and the native talent of the hitters they have — suggests that they’re merely slumping. The bullpen is much more of a problem right now as Mota and Troncoso are getting lit up lately.

Smoltz to the pen?  It could be worth thinking about.  At least if someone else doesn’t snag him first.

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.