Making official what was expected, the Cardinals announced that they will call up top prospect Michael Wacha to start Thursday against the Royals.
Wacha was the 19th overall pick in last year’s draft out of Texas A&M and has been incredibly good in the minors with a 1.71 ERA and 74/19 K/BB ratio in 74 innings.
He’ll debut after 20 total appearances as a pro, including just 11 starts, but Wacha’s timetable was pushed up thanks to Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia, and John Gast all being injured.
Coming into the season Wacha ranked as a top 100 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com and he posted a 2.05 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A, although his 34/15 K/BB ratio in 53 innings was underwhelming.
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.