Dodgers release outfielder Marcus Thames

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As expected, the Dodgers have officially released Marcus Thames after designating him for assignment last week to make room on the roster for Juan Rivera.

Thames was already a very limited player even when healthy and a strained calf kept him from being able to consistently play left field for the Dodgers, which along with struggles at the plate made him next to useless.

However, if he can get over the calf issues Thames could still potentially bring some value to a contending team as a part-time outfielder or designated hitter. He strikes out a ton, can’t hit right-handed pitching, and doesn’t catch much in left field, but Thames has a .496 slugging percentage and 46 homers in 786 career at-bats versus left-handed pitching.

For the cost of a minor-league deal it’d be worth it for several teams to see if he can get healthy and hit his way back to the majors in a platoon role.

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.