PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers brought aboard a new left-handed bat off the bench who can play all three outfield positions. The question is how long he remains.
The club announced that free agent Will Venable was signed Tuesday and was immediately added to the major league roster. The longtime San Diego Padre started the season at Triple-A in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, but was released earlier this month.
“You know what, you look at our roster right now, a left-handed bat for a start in the outfield or off the bench late in the game, I think it was needed," manager Dave Roberts said. "I had him in San Diego, a very good defender, athletic, can steal a base and get a bunt down if we need it. So if there is an opportunity to start against a right-handed pitcher, we’ll have that to.”
The Dodgers had been operating with a short bench because they're carrying eight relief pitchers. What they did not have since designating Carl Crawford for assignment last month was a left-handed hitter to fold into the mix off the bench.
“I like to think that I’m a guy that whatever is asked of me I can get the job done to help the team win,” Venable said. “Whether that’s running the bases well, playing good defense, putting together a tough at-bat out there, Whatever is asked of me, I’d like to think that I go out there and can get the job done.”
Austin Barnes was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the active roster. With Yasiel Puig expected to be activated from the disabled list Monday, Venable’s stay with the Dodgers could be short.
Venable, 33, was hitting just .205 with seven doubles and two home runs at Triple-A Lehigh Valley before he was cut loose by the Phillies. He is a career .251 hitter with 81 home runs and 307 RBIs in 995 career major-league games.
“I think it was one of those things that we were actively searching outside the organization for somebody that could fill that role and there are only so many of those guys available right now,” Roberts said. “When the name Will Venable was brought to my attention, there was some familiarity there so I was supportive.”