Dodgers re-assign Gagne to minor-league camp

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This morning the Dodgers re-assigned Eric Gagne to minor-league camp, removing whatever slim chance he had of claiming an Opening Day bullpen spot.
Gagne hasn’t been an effective major-league pitcher since mid-2007 and spent last year pitching poorly in an independent league, so his demotion is certainly no surprise. He chose a minor-league deal from the Dodgers over the same offer from the Rockies (and former manager Jim Tracy), but has said that he’s willing to pitch at Triple-A in an effort to work his way back.
At age 34 he’s unlikely to ever pitch at Dodger Stadium again, but until that reality sets in the fans in Albuquerque should get a kick out of seeing Gagne take the mound.

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.