Nationals sign minor league deal with Cla Meredith

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The Nationals announced on their official team Twitter feed this evening that they have reached agreement on a minor league contract with right-hander Cla Meredith.

Meredith enjoyed a couple of successful seasons in a middle relief role for the Padres from 2006-2009, but he allowed nine earned runs in 15 innings last year with the Orioles and he posted a 6.00 ERA and 1.63 WHIP across 27 innings at Triple-A Norfolk.

The 27-year-old’s new deal with Washington carries an invitation to spring training, where Meredith will get a chance to prove that he is worthy of a spot at the back end of the Nationals’ bullpen.  There’s a slight chance he might bounce back with a change of scenery, but our guess is that he gets shipped to the Triple-A level once spring training breaks.  He can fight his way back up from there.

The Nats also officially announced a minor league agreement with veteran infielder Alex Cora.

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.