Derek Jeter plays five innings in spring debut

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After coming out to a standing ovation, Derek Jeter went 0-for-2 Thursday in the first appearance of his farewell season.

Jeter, who announced his retirement earlier this month, played his scheduled five innings at shortstop before leaving the game against the Pirates. He grounded into a double play his first time up against sinkerballer Charlie Morton and grounded out to third versus left-hander Jeff Locke in his second plate appearance, but he ran well both times. Jeter was limited to 17 games by leg injuries last year after breaking his ankle in the 2012 postseason.

Jeter hit second behind Brett Gardner in this one. He’s expected to remain in that spot in the regular season, though he’ll be batting behind Jacoby Ellsbury most of the time then.

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.