Bobby Abreu, washed up? Not for the Dodgers (so far)

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Bobby Abreu had the worst season of his career in 2011 and then went 5-for-24 (.208) in limited playing time early on this season, causing many to conclude that the 38-year-old was washed up and getting him released by the Angels.

Abreu hooked on with the Dodgers two weeks ago, first as a part-time player and now as a starter following injuries in the outfield, and he’s looked nothing like the guy who played his way out of the Angels’ plans.

Abreu went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple last night, making him 11-for-35 (.314) with six extra-base hits in 12 games for the Dodgers. By comparison, dating back to last season Abreu had a total of six extra-base hits in his final 21 games for the Angels while batting .235.

As the Dodgers look to stay atop the NL West minus Matt Kemp suddenly Abreu is looking like a key contributor.

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.