Joel Peralta’s early entry for cheap save of the year

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Joel Peralta got one out as the Rays beat the A’s 7-2 on Friday. In this case, that was good enough to get him a save.

Peralta qualified for the save since the tying run was on deck as he entered. Brandon Gomes gave up a leadoff homer to Cliff Pennington in a 7-1 game to start the ninth and then allowed a single, hit a batter and walked another in the process of recording two outs. Peralta entered with the bases loaded and got Kila Ka’aihue, a .229 career hitter, to ground out to first to end the game.

Between Peralta and Fernando Rodney, the Rays have 11 saves this season, but four of them have been of the one- or two-out variety. In just two of the saves has the reliever protected a one-run lead for one or more innings.

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.