Johan Santana throws two innings in Venezuela

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Johan Santana officially began his latest comeback attempt last night in Venezuela, retiring all six batters he faced in a winter ball appearance for his first action since a torn Achilles’ tendon in June.

According to the Associated Press he threw 17 pitches in two innings and failed to record a strikeout.

Santana seemed close to being called up by the Orioles when the injury ended his season and he’s still a long way from being declared healthy, but as far as baby steps go it was a good one for the former two-time Cy Young winner.

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012, as shoulder injuries repeatedly derailed what once looked like a potential Hall of Fame career. At age 36 he’ll almost surely have to settle for a minor-league contract and compete for a job during spring training, and the Yankees are among the teams said to be interested.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Free-agent ace Jacob deGrom and the Texas Rangers agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner leaves the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened by injuries.

After making his first start last season in early August, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then opted out of his contract to become a free agent.

Texas announced the signing Friday night after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

“We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger,” executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement. “Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best.”

Texas went 68-94 last season and then hired Bruce Bochy as its new manager. The Rangers’ six straight losing seasons are their worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

The Rangers were big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).