Rays Sign Jeff Bennett

2:41pm: We have a little more clarity on this situation. According to Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves suspended Bennett's pay on June 25, the day after he fractured his hand with an angry punch to a clubhouse wall.  Here's more:

"The Braves didn’t announce it at the time, but they suspended his pay beginning June 25He filed a grievance with the players association and continued his rehab, including two recent minor-league appearances," O'Brien writes.

"When the grievance was heard, the Braves were directed to either “cure the default” by giving him his back pay for the period he was suspended, or allow him to become a free agent. Braves media-relations director Brad Hainje said Bennett requested the team release him from his contract, which they did."

1:04pm: Marc Lancaster of the Tampa Tribune reports minor league left-hander James Houser was released to make room for Bennett on the 40-man roster.  Houser, 24, was 4-5 this season with a 5.16 ERA and a 44/50 K/BB ratio in 18 appearances (15 starts) for Triple-A Durham.

12:31pm: According to Ed Price at AOL Fanhouse, the Rays have inked righty Jeff Bennett to a deal. Bennett, 29, had recently asked for his release from the Braves, though it was unclear why. He put up a 3.18 ERA and 23/21 K/BB ratio for Atlanta this season.

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