Venters waits; thin times for Braves bullpen

Washington – The Braves have gone two days without hearing back from Major League Baseball with a decision on Jonny Venters’ appeal of his four-game suspension.

The Braves had hoped to know by Wednesday, so they pitched him two innings on Tuesday night the day of his hearing.

Manager Bobby Cox pitched Venters again to one more hitter on Wednesday night, but the Braves still didn’t find out Thursday. And Venters was unavailable to pitch Thursday because of the recent workload.

Now it looks like Venters, who was suspended for hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch on July 17, will likely miss at least part of the Reds series this weekend in Cincinnati. That’s no small thing for a Braves bullpen that looks thin right now.

Left-hander Eric O’Flaherty is on the disabled list recovering from a viral infection. He made 40 throws playing catch Wednesday, but Cox said he will need a rehabilitation assignment to build back his stamina.

The Braves have seemingly lost confidence in Kenshin Kawakami, who has pitched only once since he was moved to the bullpen a month ago. And by virtue of an agreement in his contract, the Braves can’t send him to the minors.

Help could be coming from the trade market this weekend, but Braves general manager said it wasn’t a priority.

“I think we’re not going to turn away from a bullpen arm,” Wren said. “Is it a priority? I don’t think it’s a priority. But you try to build as much depth as you can because there’s still a long two months left.”

One potential trade partner is Toronto, which is shopping relievers Kevin Gregg, Jason Frascor and Scott Downs. The Blue Jays had a scout at Wednesday’s Braves-Nationals game.

34 comments Add your comment


July 29th, 2010
7:08 pm

Perhaps an extended trade proposal of Downs (or another reliever)/Bautista to Braves for prospects & maybe Dunn?

Jonny Venters

July 29th, 2010
7:08 pm

Bobby’s gonna kill my arm. I begged for a longer suspension.

The Grinch

July 29th, 2010
7:17 pm

You’d hardly be the first one to suffer that fate here, Johnny.


July 29th, 2010
7:17 pm

After diaz tossed his bat today on his homer, I would expect Strasburg to deck him next..Showmanship at it’s worst.


July 29th, 2010
7:24 pm

If the Braves are not gonna use Kenshin K, why nopt admit the mistake, drop him and add an arm to the bullpen? Seems useless to have him occupy a spot on the roster and then wear out the bullpen. No way a trade is gonna happen.


July 29th, 2010
7:27 pm

Agree about KK, when’s the last time he’s faced live hitting? Like 3-4 weeks ago? And he’s faced live hitting 1 time in since JJ got back.. Last season he was good out of the Pen, why pay him all that money if Chavez has been used more than him?


July 29th, 2010
7:28 pm

I’m much rather keep KK on the roster for long relief and just demote Chavez. That way, we could bring up Kimbrel or Dunn or Marek or any number of good arms from the minors…

joe t

July 29th, 2010
7:36 pm

I would really like to see Wren get Adam
Dunn…..I think he would be the perfect fit. Don’t know if you want to give the Nats too much being a division rival but Dunn would be the answer above all else! Is he a free agent at the end of year?


July 29th, 2010
7:37 pm

Kimbrel is the answer if it’s for a short term. Frasor is not effective(4.62ERA), while Gregg and Downs would be expensive. Promote from within. Proctor? Ouch!


July 29th, 2010
7:39 pm



July 29th, 2010
8:19 pm

I agree, this MLB decision is a FIASCO. Are those guys Reds fans? lol

On a side note, How about we bring up the guys that are doing well in the minors as relievers….is it Marek? I forget his name…that might not be it. And send down Chavez. He’s terrible. Oh and either pitch kawakami or release him….

jesse james

July 29th, 2010
8:30 pm

Adam Dunn is the man we have got to have. Would be like the McGriff deal. We need power. As long as Glaus was hitting we were fine. But we need production from that first base position.


July 29th, 2010
8:52 pm

What are we waiting on, more lost games?!? Use the talent that will obviously be on the team next year to help win this year!!!!!!!!!Freeman, Minor,Dunn, Marek, Kimbrel……..Cox is going to ruin another opportunity if we don`t force the issue. Get rid of the dead weight(KK,Chavez,Glaus). We don`t absolutely have to increase payroll with a trade if we are willing to use what we have invested in and built up to be a championship caliber player in the minors!
Freeman hitting .290, 14hr, 50+ RBIs….what`s the question? If he is the answer next year why isn`t he good enough to be here with 2 months left this year? This is a veteran team so he won`t be carrying the weight of expectation alone. But he surely can bat better than Glaus! Admit it Wren, Glaus has peaked and is on the downhill side of your gamble. He was good for a short time but if he is still playing 2 weeks from now this team will not be playoff bound! Glaus is the current McClouth!!!!!!

Michael Procton

July 29th, 2010
10:04 pm

This is EXACTLY why Kawakami should be in the rotation.

Jesse Chavez's mom

July 29th, 2010
10:09 pm

Please let Jesse pitch more. Pretty please!!


July 29th, 2010
10:44 pm

Can someone answer this- 8th inning today, runner on first and nobody out- down a run – Diaz up – he has been hitting, however, where’s the bunt BC???? We know what happened next….

Bobby Cox's Lackey

July 29th, 2010
10:49 pm

hank44, play for the win on the road, tie at home.

That’s supposedly Baseball 101.


July 29th, 2010
10:51 pm

Bobby didn’t want Infante to hit with a runner at 2nd and one out. Why? 2 chances to try to tie the game with a single. No, Bobby goes for the big inning and gets a DP. We need to go back to small ball and bunt the runner over. We need every run we can get.


July 29th, 2010
10:52 pm

I know what you mean about the stategy, however, the way the bats have been…. would have been better to go for the tie. I don’t know – 6 runs against the Nats… hope Cincy brings us some runs.


July 29th, 2010
11:01 pm

Mathman – I agree with you- plus, sorry Chipper, I’m one of your biggest fans, but you need to step out of the 3 spot and swallow your pride.

Jonathan Simeone

July 29th, 2010
11:58 pm

Why not just release Kawakami? He’s not going to be in next year’s rotation and he’s not going to be in the bullpen. Since he’s not going to be on next year’s team they are really only eeating two months more salary than they will have to eat eventually.


July 30th, 2010
12:00 am

Does Chipper makeout the linup? I thought that was Bobby Cox’s job! Yes something has to be changed; We are in serious trouble.


July 30th, 2010
12:04 am

Baseball 101 is, You win at home and play 500 on the road.


July 30th, 2010
12:06 am

Chipper has got to step down in the lineup, and the starting pitching has to stop putting up the not so big but big enough inning so we can win. Timely hitting will be the key as well.


July 30th, 2010
12:35 am

The Blue Jays had a scout at Wednesday’s Braves-Nationals game.

Why is that? Shouldn’t he be watching our prospects or someone like McLouth? Do they want Kawakami and Chavez and maybe a couple of bucks?

Trader Jack

July 30th, 2010
1:04 am

KK, Chavez and a couple minor leaguers for Scott Downs & Jose Bautista.

Fluffy McNutter

July 30th, 2010
1:29 am

Scott Downs or even Jason Frasor would be a nice bullpen add to go with the guys already on the roster. Depends what it would take to get him though. If they’re worried about O’Flaherty missing another 2-3 weeks, it might make sense to add a guy like Downs. Venters can’t pitch in EVERY game.

I hope the Braves add a bat. Glaus had a great 6 week run in May and early June, but he did nothing before that and nothing since. We have minimal offense coming from CF. I’d get a corner OF bat and shift Heyward to CF…thus a starting OF of LF: Hinske/Diaz, CF Heyward and RF new guy. Melky could back up all 3 positions. If McLouth can get it together, he’d add even more OF depth. Getting a solid bat is pretty much a necessity though in my view. The Braves may be able to get by and make the playoffs the way the team is currently constructed, but I have significant concerns about the offense in the playoffs.


July 30th, 2010
6:51 am

The reason not to release KK is that he is guaranteed $7 m. per year for the rest of this year and all of next year. While his W-L record is ugly, his ERA is under 5. He isn’t the disaster some people make him out to be. People seem to have short memories about pitching depth. I remember a few years ago when 3 or 4 of the starters on opening day spent significant time on the DL. (The year of Jorge Campillo and Buddy Carlisle as pitchers getting a substantial number of starts.)

Putting the pitching depth point aside, if the Braves want to dump KK, then it should be through a trade in which they eat some of his salary. The point of the trade would not to get prospects but to clear salary space. Find a team that is willing to pay half of KK’s salary next year and eat the rest. If you look through the rotations of MLB teams, you will find some who have fifth starters who are worse (much worse) than KK.

I agree that the problem is not carrying KK for long relief — it has more to do with having KK and Jesse so that there are two pitchers that Bobby doesn’t have much confidence. The main reason that KK hasn’t pitched is that the Braves’ starters have been pretty consistent in getting 6 IP since KK was sent to the pen.

Kimbrel’s problem right now is that he has been bitten by the wildness bug in July — lots of BB’s this month for the G-Braves. Remember how Dunn had a meltdown a few games ago and walked three batters in an inning? The wildness bug can be an issue with some young pitchers.


July 30th, 2010
8:38 am

Callup Lee Hyde from AAA. He’s a left handed specialist type… even closes too plus he is on the 40-man roster

Marvin Mangrum

July 30th, 2010
9:33 am

Cant send Kawakami to the minors cause of a deal in his contract! The moron, the stupid moron, the unbelievable moron, that made this deal should be taken outside, hung on the Aaron statue and have his skin peeled from his body. You can just read about stuff like this and cringe! Kinda like a guaranteed contract. Cant hit 6 but you are gauranteed, cant win a game gauranteed. Now I understand why they will not be in the playoffs again this year. Or as Bobby would say, let me have McLouth, he oughta hit 180 by now. I need to rest Infante cause he played a day. Your leadoff hitter swings at the first pitch, the second pitch, etc, tell him to watch videos of the first 3 months, he may learn something. They need a new 3,4,5 hitter till the old 3,4,5 hitters start resembling 3,4,5 hitters.


July 30th, 2010
11:06 am

The Braves should put Medlin back in the bullpen send Chavez back down to AAA and bring up Minor and put him into the rotation. Bullpen problem solved.


July 30th, 2010
11:49 am

That is utter BS that we can’t send Kawakami to the minors. Why on earth would we agree to such a deal?!?!? So now, KK just takes up a roster spot and collects $7M+ this year.


July 30th, 2010
12:05 pm

This was not a year Wren thought the team would compete for a World Series spot, playoffs hopefully but not a legitimate chance to win it all. He wanted to field a team that would compete in Cox’s last year and then in a couple of years legitimately be a World Series contender with new manager and McCann,Heyward,Prado,Freeman,Escobar leading the way. This team jelled after April and played inspired ball, coupled with the Phillies slump put the Braves in front. The 2 year plan with the new manager and younger players should remain in place. Be conservative in what you are willing to giveup, but go for it in terms of moves within the organization. Bring up Minor and Freeman with the hopes that they will provide a shot of adrenalin to the team and tell Cox to keep playing small ball instead of reverting back to waiting on the 3 run homerun. The team still can be exciting to watch and could get lucky and win it all like the Marlins did a few years back, but Bobby has to manage like he is 38 instead of 68. GO FOR IT!

Kris in NC

July 30th, 2010
12:53 pm

The decision has been given and….NO SUSPENSION! Venters’ fine reduced too. Now the Braves can rest and now Venters will be with the team without missing any games.

Nice defense by Venters and the Braves.

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