A’s conversion project Sean Doolittle makes the bigs

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Sean Doolittle was drafted by the A’s in 2007. A first baseman, primarily, he has some flashes of good power — In 2008 he hit .286 with 22 homers and 91 RBIs across two levels — but then injuries derailed him.

A pitcher in college, the A’s figured they’d see if he could pitch again. He threw a single inning in the rookie league in 2011 and began to pitch in earnest this year.  He has pitched 25 innings in 16 games across A-ball, Double-A and Triple-A. In that time he has a 0.72 ERA and has struck out 48 batters and walked 7.  To repeat: he struck out 48 batters in 25 innings.

Now he’s in the bigs.  The A’s just called him up from Sacramento to replace the injured Jordan Norberto.  Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com has his story.

What a turnaround.

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.