Ian Snell comes out of retirement, signs with Dodgers

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Veteran right-hander Ian Snell, who said he was retiring after he failed to make the Cardinals this spring, signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers on Wednesday.

Snell was reassigned to minor league camp by the Cardinals on March 15 after giving up two runs in two innings during Grapefruit League play.   The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA in eight starts and four relief appearances for the Mariners last season.

Utilizing a 91-95 mph fastball and a plus slider, Snell went 14-11 with a 4.74 ERA for the Pirates in 2006 and 9-12 with a 3.76 ERA in 2007, striking out 346 batters between the two season. 

Unfortunately, his command regressed from there, he lost a little bit off his fastball and he never did come up with a quality third pitch.  In 191 1/3 innings during 2009 and 2010, he had just about as many walks (108) as strikeouts (115).

The Dodgers could use some starting pitching depth, so they’ll stash him away in Triple-A and see what happens.  Odds are that not much will come of it.

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.