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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.

White Sox shut down Lucas Giolito for remainder of season

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The Athletic’s James Fegan reports that the White Sox are shutting down starter Lucas Giolito for the remainder of a season. An MRI revealed a mild lat strain, which typically comes with a three- to four-week recovery timetable. The third-place, 65-84 White Sox have nothing left to play for, so it makes sense to play it safe with their prized young hurler.

Giolito, 25, had a breakout season. He went 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA and a 228/57 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings. He made his first All-Star team and will likely earn a few downballot votes for the AL Cy Young Award.

Giolito was scheduled to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Twins. Ross Detwiler will start in his place opposite Martín Pérez.