Padres designate reliever Pat Neshek for assignment

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According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, the Padres designated right-handed reliever Pat Neshek for assignment late Saturday night to clear a roster spot for the activation of Ernesto Frieri.

Neshek, 30, registered an underwhelming 4.01 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 25 relief appearances this year for San Diego, striking out just 20 batters while issuing 22 walks over 24 2/3 innings. He still owns a cool 3.21 career ERA and 1.11 career WHIP, but the side-armer has not been the same since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in 2008.

Neshek could pass through waivers and wind up back in the Padres’ system, likely at Triple-A Tucson.

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.