Garrett Atkins would "welcome" release from Orioles

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After the Orioles acquired Jake Fox from the A’s earlier this week, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com speculated that Garrett Atkins would be designated for assignment in order to make room for Saturday’s starter Brad Bergesen. It turns out that won’t happen, as Lou Montanez will go on the disabled list with an oblique strain.

Still, it’s essentially a foregone conclusion that Atkins will be released at some point in the near future. The 30-year-old infielder was signed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with an $8.5 million club option for 2011 after being non-tendered by the Rockies last December, but entering Friday’s action, he is batting just .219/.282/.292 with one home run and nine RBI over 137 at-bats. He has just 11 at-bats this month and is making his first start since June 14 on Friday.

With the writing clearly on the wall, Atkins told Ghiroli that he doesn’t view his inevitable release as a bad thing.

“Not at all,” he said. “[It would] be a welcome opportunity.”

By the way, Atkins just grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning against the Nationals. He’s doing all the little things to earn his release. You have to respect that.
 

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.