Dodgers Sign OF Will Venable

The Los Angeles Dodgers  have signed outfielder Will Venable to a major league contract and optioned utility man Austin Barnes to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Dodgers Sign OF Will Venable

Venable, who was released by the Philadelphia Phillies organization just a few days ago, will suit up Tuesday night as the Dodgers take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

The move comes the day after the team officially released outfielder Carl Crawford  on Monday afternoon. Expectations are that Venable will serve primarily as an extra left-handed bat off the bench. The 33-year-old is a lifetime .251 hitter, with eighty-one home runs and 307 RBI. He has spent the majority of his eight seasons with the San Diego Padres, and had a brief stint in 2015 with the Texas Rangers.

Venable is no stranger to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Roberts was part of the Padres coaching staff during much of Venable’s tenure with the team, and is familiar with his style of play. The Dodgers are hoping that familiarity will help Venable contribute to the team’s struggling offense. The Dodgers sit in second place in the NL West, six games back of the division leading San Francisco Giants.

Venable’s best season came back in 2013 for the Padres, when he hit .268 with twenty-two home runs, fifty-three RBI, and twenty-two steals. He still has some speed, as he was able to steal sixteen bases over course of 135 games last year. The Dodgers have just twenty-one steals as a team through sixty-five games, and could use some extra speed.

While his best years are likely behind him, he will be another veteran bat off the bench. He will also see limited time as a starter when a regular needs a day off.

In Barnes absence, outfielder Scott Van Slyke will be the team’s reserve third catcher if needed.

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