Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays have designated pitcher Jeremy Jeffress for assignment. The club recalled right-hander Chad Jenkins from Triple-A to take his spot on the roster. Jeffress, who earned a spot on the Jays’ 25-man roster with a solid spring showing, allowed three runs in one inning in his 2014 debut on March 31, surrendered two hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings on Thursday, and allowed one run in one inning Friday night. His season ERA currently stands at 10.80.
Jeffress, taken by the Brewers in the first round of the 2006 draft, went to the Royals in the Zack Greinke trade in December 2010, then was purchased by the Blue Jays in November 2012. He has not had much success in 51 1/3 innings at the big league level, sporting a 4.44 career ERA.
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.