Yasmani Grandal goes yard twice in historic performance

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Anthony Rizzo isn’t the only youngster doing it big.

Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, making his first career major league start, slugged a solo home run from the right side of the plate in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 8-4 defeat of the Rockies. He then hit a two-run shot from the left side of the dish in the sixth.

According to the Associated Press, via NBC Sports, it was the first time in major league history that a player had homered from each side of the plate for the first two hits of his career. “I can’t describe how remarkable this is,” Grandal said later. “Just getting the call-up was surreal. To get called up and hit two home runs for my first two hits, it’s just incredible.”

The 23-year-old Cuban switch-hitter was acquired this past winter from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade. He’s expected to see regular action behind the plate in the wake of Nick Hundley’s demotion.

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.