Athletics sign switch-pitcher Pat Venditte

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From agent Marc Klingman comes word that Pat Venditte, a switch-pitcher who can throw both left-handed and right-handed, has signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A’s. The deal also carries an invitation to major league spring training.

Venditte was selected by the Yankees in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft out of Creighton University and posted a promising 2.46 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 10.1 K/9 across 384 2/3 innings in the Yanks’ minor league system, but he went six years without getting called to New York.

Venditte is going to have a tough time cracking Oakland’s deep and talented bullpen out of spring training, but the 29-year-old is a very unique talent and should get a shot eventually at the big league level. Here’s some video of him confusing the opposition (and an umpire) a few years ago at short-season Staten Island:

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.