Stephen Strasburg gives up first runs with Triple-A Syracuse

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Strasburg Triple-A.jpgShip ’em out of town, says Steve Phillips. Stephen Strasburg yielded two runs — one earned — over a brief five-inning start for Triple-A Syracuse on Monday night, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com.

Strasburg gave up an unearned run in the top of the third inning — ending a scoreless streak of 20 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. He gave up his first earned run in the fourth inning. All told, he threw 36 of 52 pitches for strikes while whiffing five and walking none.

Strasburg wasn’t perfect, but now owns a 0.39 ERA through his first four starts with Triple-A Syracuse, posting a 27/4 K/BB ratio over 23 1/3 innings. The young phenom has a 0.99 ERA and 54/10 K/BB ratio over nine starts between Double-A and Triple-A.

Goessling speculates that there’s a small chance he could make his major league debut against the Padres this weekend, but still holds true to the more likely scenario of a debut at home against the Reds on Friday, June 4. Don’t know about you, but I’m hoping to be there.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.