The Dodgers announced tonight that they’ve activated left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu from the 60-day disabled list and designated veteran outfielder Will Venable for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man and 25-man rosters. The Dodgers also optioned Luis Avilan to Triple-A and recalled right-hander Carlos Frias.
Venable, 33, has appeared in just 12 games and totaled 19 appearances for the Dodgers this season. This marks the second time in the past two weeks that Venable has been designated for assignment by the Dodgers, though last time he accepted an outright as opposed to electing free agency. He’ll again have the opportunity to opt for free agency if he’s outrighted by L.A., which is a fairly likely outcome.
Venable hasn’t hit much in any of the past three seasons, though he was a very solid and underrated outfield piece for the Padres for many years prior to the onset of his struggles. From 2008-13, Venable batted .257/.322/.431 and averaged 17 homers per 162 games despite playing half of his games at the spacious Petco Park. Since 2014, however, he’s limped to a collective .229/.298/.331 line in 857 plate appearances.
Ryu is slated to start for the Dodgers tonight, and when he does so, he’ll be toeing the rubber on a Major League mound for the first time since Sept. 12, 2014. Ryu opened the 2015 season on the disabled list due to an impingement in his throwing shoulder that ultimately required surgery, and he’s been on the shelf ever since. A healthy Ryu would be a boon for the Dodgers, as from 2013-14 Ryu made the club’s six-year, $36MM investment in his left arm look like a bargain. In 344 innings across those two seasons, Ryu pitched to a stellar 3.17 ERA while averaging 7.7 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 to go along with a strong 49.2 percent ground-ball rate. He’s made eight minor league rehab starts this season and posted a 4.23 ERA with a brilliant 23-to-1 K/BB ratio in 27 2/3 innings of work.