John Valentin will be the Dodgers’ assistant hitting coach

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In joining the increasing number of teams to employ a pair of hitting coaches the Dodgers have hired John Valentin as their assistant hitting coach.

He’ll work alongside new hitting coach Mark McGwire, who left the Cardinals for the Dodgers last week.

Valentin retired as a player in 2002 following an 11-year career spent mostly with the Red Sox and has been coaching and managing the Dodgers’ farm system for the past six seasons.

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.