Kevin Millwood exits with groin strain; Mariners get no-hitter anyway

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Kevin Millwood pitched six hitless innings Friday against the Dodgers before being forced from the game with a mild right groin strain after going to warm up for the seventh, but five relievers combined to shut L.A. down afterwards, giving Seattle its first no-hitter in 19 years.

Millwood threw just 68 pitches before his departure, putting him in great position to get the no-hitter by himself. He threw a two-hitter against the Rockies last month, giving him his first shutout since 2003.

Charlie Furbush replaced him to start the seventh and combined with Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen on the no-no. It was Seattle’s first no-hitter since Chris Bosio had one against Boston in 1993.

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.