Zack Greinke ejected in first inning for spiking baseball

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Zack Greinke was ejected in the bottom of the first inning against the Astros this afternoon for spiking a ball in the dirt following a close call at first base.

Greinke gave up a leadoff triple to Jordan Schafer before Jose Altuve hit a chipper to Corey Hart at first base. Greinke ran over to the first base bag to catch the throw from Hart, but Altuve was ruled safe on a very close play. Greinke didn’t argue the call, but took out his frustrations by slamming the ball into the ground. He was then given the boot by first base umpire Sam Holbrook. You don’t see that very often.

Brian McTaggart of MLB.com passes along word that that Greinke was saying, “I’m mad at myself. I’m mad at myself,” so it appears he was taking his frustrations out on himself for losing the footrace. However, Holbrook evidently took it personally. Trigger-happy, much? Brewers manager Ron Roenicke emerged from the dugout to defend his starting pitcher, but he was also ejected from the game. Livan Hernandez is now pitching in relief.

Any scouts who came to see Greinke today are likely bummed, but it’s not a complete lost cause. Wandy Rodriguez, another popular trade target, is pitching for the Astros.

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.