Pirates release left-handed reliever Joe Beimel

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As expected, Joe Beimel cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week and the Pirates released him.

Beimel hasn’t pitched well this season, but posted an ERA below 4.00 every year from 2005 to 2010 and could be a potential fit as a second left-hander in a contender’s bullpen.

Pittsburgh ate the remainder of his $1.75 million contract, so now Beimel is available for a prorated share of the minimum salary.

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.