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Nationals to call up Jonny Venters

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Yesterday the Washington Nationals called up Fernando Rodney. Today they continued their commitment to building the best bullpen of 2011 by calling up Jonny Venters.

Venters signed a minor league deal with the Nats last month after he flamed out in nine ineffective appearances with the Braves. Since then he’s done alright, posting a 1.29 ERA over nine appearances in Double-A. How that translates to the bigs is an open question but (a) he walked six batters in seven innings in the minors; and (b) his post-multiple-surgeries ceiling suggests that, at best, he’ll be moderately useful in limited situations. Which is to say, sure, why not see if he’s got anything, but let’s not pretend he, or Rodney for that matter, represents the big bullpen fix the Nats need.

Still, it’s fun. It’s a reminder that, even if we’re in an alleged Golden Age of Bullpens,™ most teams are still spinning their wheels and farting around when it comes to relief pitchers.

Zack Wheeler headed to IL due to shoulder fatigue

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Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler will be placed on the 10-day injured list due to fatigue in his right shoulder, Newsday’s Tim Healey reports. The roster move is retroactive to July 12. Steven Matz will open up a two-game series in Minnesota, starting in Wheeler’s place on Tuesday.

As Healey notes, the soonest Wheeler can return is July 23, which would give him at most two starts ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Wheeler has frequently been brought up in trade conversations as he can become a free agent after the season and the 42-51 Mets have been freefalling.

Wheeler, 29, owns a 4.69 ERA with 130 strikeouts and 34 walks across 119 innings of work this season.