Red Sox release Mark Prior from Triple-A

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Yesterday the Red Sox acquired reliever Pedro Beato from the Mets to complete the Kelly Shoppach trade and to make room for Beato on the Triple-A roster today they released Mark Prior.

Prior had impressively racked up 38 strikeouts in 25 innings as a reliever for Pawtucket, holding opponents to a .172 batting average. So why would the Red Sox release him from Triple-A? Because he couldn’t throw the ball over the plate, walking 23 batters in those 25 frames.

That includes a 15/13 K/BB ratio in 15 innings over his last 10 appearances, during which time Prior coughed up seven runs.

Obviously with nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings and a sub-.200 batting average against there’s still some juice left in Prior’s oft-injured arm and he’s still only 31 years old, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 and clearly wasn’t going to get an opportunity with the Red Sox.

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.