Athletics calling up Drew Pomeranz to start Wednesday

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According to Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com, Athletics manager Bob Melvin confirmed this evening that Drew Pomeranz will called up from Triple-A Sacramento to start Wednesday against the Astros. The change lines up Sonny Gray, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija to start in a big four-game series against the Angels later this week.

Pomeranz began this season in the A’s bullpen, but moved into the rotation in May and posted an impressive 1.88 ERA over his first seven starts. However, he was rocked for eight runs (seven earned) over 3 2/3 innings on June 16 before punching a chair in frustration and breaking his right hand. He has pitched exclusively in Triple-A since returning to full health, putting up a 3.69 ERA and 54/17 K/BB ratio in 46 1/3 innings over eight starts.

This is just a one-start deal for now, but if Jason Hammel struggles tomorrow and Pomeranz pitches well on Wednesday, one wonders if Melvin could consider a change for September.

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.