Garrett Richards out 6-9 months with torn patellar tendon

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The news on Angels right-hander Garrett Richards’ knee injury is as bad as feared: He’s been diagnosed with a torn patellar tendon and will undergo surgery.

He’s expected to be sidelined for 6-9 months, which means he may not be ready for the beginning of next season and could be out well into the first half.

Richards’ leg buckled underneath him as he went to cover first base on a potential double-play ball last night and he was down for nearly 10 minutes before being carted off the field in obvious pain.

It’s a huge blow to the Angels and Richards, who at age 26 had taken a major step forward this season with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 169 innings after coming into the year with a career 4.42 ERA.

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.