Kevin Kouzmanoff and his $4.75 million salary cleared waivers on the way to Triple-A

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Earlier this week the A’s optioned Kevin Kouzmanoff to Triple-A, demoting the struggling third baseman while calling up the recently acquired Scott Sizemore to replace him.

As if that wasn’t depressing enough for a 29-year-old veteran of six seasons and 645 games, today the A’s dropped Kouzmanoff from the 40-man roster altogether and successfully passed him through waivers unclaimed.

That means he’ll stay at Triple-A and would need to be re-added to the 40-man roster before rejoining the A’s. It also means none of the other 29 teams felt he was worth claiming, which isn’t shocking given that Kouzmanoff has a $4.75 million salary of which a claiming team would have to assume about $3 million.

That’s far too expensive for a guy who’s hit just .242 with a .666 OPS in 189 games since leaving the Padres’ pitcher-friendly ballpark, although if Kouzmanoff plays well at Triple-A and the A’s are willing to eat most of that money they might be able to swap him for a low-level prospect at some point next month.

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.