Rangers put one over on Jeff Nelson, get free out against Mariners

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Two on, none out for the Mariners in the bottom of the second inning Friday against the Rangers. Jesus Sucre, making his first major league start, his a grounder to first that appeared to be turned into a 3-6-3 double play. Except…

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The video isn’t embeddable yet, but it’s clear as day that pitcher Justin Grimm intercepted the return throw while first baseman Mitch Moreland was trying to get to it himself. First-base ump Jeff Nelson never noticed that it wasn’t Moreland who made the catch and gave the Rangers the out. To their “credit,” both Grimm and Moreland sold it well.

Brendan Ryan followed the blown call with an RBI double that tied the game at 2. The Mariners would have had another man on and one fewer out as they attempted to continue their rally. Alas, they went on to lose 9-5.

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.