Athletics designate Michael Taylor for assignment

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics have designated outfielder Michael Taylor for assignment. Sam Fuld, Taylor’s competition for the reserve outfielder job, made the team as a result.

Taylor had a great spring, slashing .274/.348/.532 in 62 at-bats. Fuld was nearly as good, posting a .271/.348/.475 line in 59 at-bats.

Taylor came over to the Athletics in December 2009 from the Blue Jays in the Brett Wallace trade. He has performed well at Triple-A Sacramento over the past four seasons but has had few opportunities to prove himself at the big league level. He’ll likely draw some interest based on his solid spring.

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.