Tim Lincecum was shelled again

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It’s not often a guy can give up six runs in three and a third innings and say that he improved over his last start, but Tim Lincecum can. Five days after giving up eight runs in three and a third innings to the Nationals, Lincecum went out today against the Pirates and gave up six runs in three and a third.

Not that this “improvement” is cause for celebration, for it simply means that Lincecum’s nightmare season shows no sign of stopping.

The Giants went on to lose, and Lincecum is now 3-10, making him the Giants’ first 10-game loser at the break since Barry Zito in 2007.  His ERA is now up to 6.42 and his WHIP up to 1.58.

And now that he’s matched Zito in one way, it’s time to ask a question about him that has often been asked of Zito over the years: how much longer can the Giants just keep running him out there?

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.