Roy Oswalt shines in first start after trade request

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Roy Oswalt started yesterday for the first time since requesting a trade last week and shut out the Brewers for eight innings while matching his season-high with nine strikeouts. Better yet the Astros actually gave him some rare run support in a 5-0 win.
Oswalt’s record is just 3-6 because Houston’s offense is terrible, but he’s pitching as well as ever with a 2.35 ERA and 69/17 K/BB ratio in 69 innings at age 32. Reports vary on just how likely the Astros are to deal Oswalt, but that’s to be expected in late May. As the trading deadline approaches, I’ll be shocked if Houston isn’t fielding offers.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.