According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks have designated veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay for assignment. The move clears a roster spot for third baseman Chris Johnson, who was acquired from the Astros yesterday.
Overbay, 35, is batting .292/.367/.448 with two home runs, 10 RBI and an .815 OPS over 110 plate appearances this season. However, as Piecoro notes, this includes a brutal 2-for-25 stretch since June 23.
Ryan Wheeler, who was recently promoted from Triple-A Reno, will take over as the backup to Paul Goldschmidt at first base. Overbay was only making $1 million this season, so he figures to generate some trade interest from contending clubs.
UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds are expected to pursue Overbay.
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.