Blue Jays grant outfielder Scott Podsednik his release

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Shi Davidi of Canada’s Sportsnet passes along word that veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik has been granted his request for an unconditional release from the Blue Jays organization.

Podsednik signed a minor league contract with the Jays over the winter that carried a potential $1 million in total value, but an old case of plantar fasciitis caught up with him during spring training and he was forced to open the regular season on the sidelines.

His foot condition progressively got better as he moved through extended spring training, but he fell flat offensively once he was shipped off to Triple-A Las Vegas in mid-April. The speedy 35-year-old posted a .254/.366/.356 batting line across 71 plate appearances for the 51s before finally throwing in the towel on Wednesday afternoon. He tallied three stolen bases in three chances.

Podsednik will presumably seek another opportunity. He didn’t draw much attention on the free agent market this offseason, but it’s possible that a club will get desperate enough for outfield depth and take a chance.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.