Matt Garza beats Yankees in Rangers debut

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Matt Garza’s first start for the Rangers couldn’t have gone much better, as he allowed just an unearned run over 7 1/3 innings to pick up a victory in a 3-1 game against the Yankees on Wednesday.

Garza struck out five and walked none to outshine Andy Pettitte in Pettitte’s best start in six weeks. The left-hander gave up just two runs in six innings. It was the first time since a June 8 victory over the Mariners that Pettitte surrendered fewer than four runs.

Garza has won each of his last six starts dating back to June 21, not giving up more than two runs in any of them. The lone run tonight came after his own error in the sixth. Brett Gardner hit a comebacker that Garza struggled to grab and then threw away. It was ruled an infield single and a two-base throwing error that allowed Gardner to reach third.

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.