Florida International shortstop Garrett Wittels extends hitting streak to 50 games

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Florida International sophomore Garrett Wittels extended his hitting streak to 50 games this afternoon, leaving him eight short of Robin Ventura’s record streak of 58 games for Oklahoma State in 1987.
Wittels has a hit in every game this year, but with FIU playing in the Sun Belt Conference tournament and one loss from their season being over his streak will likely have to continue in 2011.
Wittels has just two homers all season and 66 of his 86 hits have been singles, but the 6-foot-1 shortstop is batting .411 with a .460 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage.
FIU hasn’t produced many big leaguers, although they do have Mike Lowell in the majors right now.

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.