Alex Rodriguez leaves game with lower back and oblique stiffness

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UPDATE: According to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, Rodriguez felt the tightness before today’s game and it only got worse as the game moved along.

Rodriguez remains hopeful to play tomorrow night, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he won’t play if he’s still feeling tightness.

3:24 PM: According to Ben Shipgel of the New York Times, Alex Rodriguez left today’s game against the Rangers after six innings with lower back and oblique stiffness.

Oblique injuries are nothing new with the Bombers lately — heck, it seems like every team has had them — but Shpigel reports that no further tests are planned. It’s a pretty chilly day in the Bronx, so the Yankees will probably see how he feels tomorrow before making a decision on his status.

Rodriguez went 0-for-2 with a walk before being replaced by Eric Chavez at third base. The 35-year-old third baseman is batting .385/.500/.821 with four homers, five doubles, nine RBI and a 1.321 OPS over his first 50 plate appearances this season.

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.