Jeff Bennett Rumors

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Quick Hits: Pelfrey, Wandy, Beato, Bennett

Links for Monday, before Josh Beckett makes his 2011 debut. Will he live up to his extension?

Brewers Sign Jeff Bennett

The Brewers signed Jeff Bennett to a minor league deal, according to's Adam McCalvy (via Twitter). The righty pitched 46.2 innings for the Braves and Rays last year, posting a 5.01 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9. Bennett, 30 next month, was a big part of the Brewers' 'pen in 2004, posting a 4.79 ERA in 60 appearances.

The Rays released Bennett, who had been pitching at Triple A, earlier in the month. He was struggling in Triple A, but the Brewers need arms. Their 6.03 bullpen ERA is part of the reason they're 14th in the National League in runs allowed.

Rays Notes: Bush, Bennett

Notes on one pitcher who may appear on the Rays this year and one who won't:

  • Matt Bush, the player the Padres selected first overall in the 2004 draft, may make it to the majors with the Rays, according to Tom Krasovic of Fanhouse. Bush has only pitched three innings at A ball this year, but the Rays people Krasovic spoke to wouldn't be surprised to see Bush in the majors this year.
  • The Rays released Jeff Bennett, according to Cork Gaines of RaysIndex. The team's media relations department confirmed the release to MLBTR. Bennett, now 29, made 11 appearances for the Rays last year. In 10.2 innings at Triple A Durham, Bennet posted 8.4 BB/9 and 5.9 K/9 this year.

Rays Acquire Kelly Shoppach

7:40pm: Topkin (via Twitter) reports that pitcher Jeff Bennett was designated for assignment to open up a spot for Shoppach on the 40-man roster.  Bennett posted a 9.95 ERA in 11 relief appearances with Tampa Bay last season.

1:42pm: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times tweets that the Rays have acquired Shoppach for a player to be named later. The deal has been confirmed by an Indians press release, which notes that the PTBNL must be named by December 20th.

1:33pm: The Rays are closing in on a deal with the Indians for catcher Kelly Shoppach, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.  Shoppach was a non-tender candidate for the Tribe after earning $1.95MM and slipping to .214/.335/.399 offensively.  If the Rays do acquire Shoppach, you have to wonder if they'll non-tender Dioner Navarro.

Shoppach, 30 in April, would make for an interesting pickup for the Rays given his .261/.348/.517 line from '08.

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.

Braves Release Jeff Bennett

The Braves granted righty Jeff Bennett his release after he asked for it, according to the AP (via ESPN). The 29-year-old had allowed 42 hits and 21 walks in 34 innings this year, striking out 23 for an ERA of 3.18. Bennett broke a bone in his left hand last month when he punched a door after a loss to the Yankees.

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