Dodgers sign Tony Gwynn Jr. to two-year deal

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The word out of Los Angeles recently was that Tony Gwynn Jr. was a possible non-tender candidate, but so much for that thought. The Dodgers signed the speedy outfielder to a new two-year, $2 million deal on Monday.

The contract covers Gwynn’s two remaining years of arbitration eligibility. The 29-year-old hit .256/.308/.353 with two homers, 22 RBI and 22 steals in 312 at-bats for the Dodgers last season.

Obviously, the money isn’t very significant here. Still, Gwynn isn’t a great use of a roster spot for a team with an outstanding and extremely durable center fielder. Pretty much all of Gwynn’s playing time came in left field last season, and with a career .247/.319/.324 line, he’s just not enough of a threat offensively to be an asset there.

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.