Venters (elbow) on DL, says injury not cause of struggles

After the worst two months of his career, Braves reliever Jonny Venters was placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation Thursday and left-hander Luis Avilan was brought up from the minor leagues to fill the bullpen vacancy. Avilan has never pitched above Double-A.

The Braves say Venters has an “impingement” but that his elbow is structurally sound and no MRI exam is planned. He was examined by the Braves’ orthopedic specialist. Manager Fredi Gonzalez thinks Venters will be ready to rejoin the Braves after the minimum stay on the DL, a week after play resumes following the All-Star break.

“When I talked to our medical people, they said it wasn’t serious,” said Gonzalez, who made no mention of a Venters injury after Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the Cubs, when the lefty let in a run on a wild pitch and gave up a home run one pitch later. “But I think the combination of the inflammation, the impingement of the elbow, and the way things are going — I think this would be a good time to go back to square 1, work on some things that he needs to work on, and then come back out.

“We need him in the second half of the season. Not like the 2011 Jonny Venters, but somewhere between last year and what we’ve seen this year.”

Gonzalez said Venters didn’t say anything to him about the injury before the manager’s postgame interview with reporters Wednesday, and that when he found out later it was the first time Venters had said anything about the sore elbow.

“Yesterday was the first time” he mentioned it, Gonzalez said. “Those bullpen guys, it’s a  tough job…. But this is the first time that he’s had a complaint. And with everything going on, go ahead and shut him down, let him regroup and let him catch up. Like I said, I think when the 15 days are up that he’ll be ready to go.”

Venters has a 4.45 ERA in 40 appearances this season, after posting a 1.89 ERA in 164 appearances during the past two seasons when he was arguably the best non-closer reliever in baseball.

He has a 6.08 ERA and .343 opponents’ average in 31 appearances since May 1. The sinkerballer allowed six homers in 21 innings over his past 28 appearances, after allowing only three homers in 182-1/3 innings over his previous 176 career appearances.

Venters said he had minor soreness “off and on” during the season but that it hadn’t flared up significantly until the past couple of days.

“There’s been times where it’s been sore, but I don’t think it’s been the reason I struggled,” said Venters, who was asked many times by reporters in the past two months whether he was injured, and always said his arm felt great, other than a period where he was rested for a few days for shoulder soreness. “My struggles have just been attributed to me not being able to make adjustments and make pitches when I needed to.

“As a result, I think trying to make so many adjustments has made my arm sore. I just think coming back I want to have a delivery and stick with it, focus more on making good pitches. I can’t be out there worrying about mechanics and timing and my arm not feeling good. I’ve just got to get back to competing and attacking guys with my sinker.”

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel had the fewest baserunners allowed per nine innings (6.9) among National League relievers before Thursday, while Venters (17.5) had the second-most allowed among major league relievers. Kimbrel led NL relievers with a .126 opponents’ average, while Venters’ .313 was the third-worst in the NL, one spot ahead of Livan Hernandez (.326), who is with Milwaukee after being released by the Braves.

Braves Kris Medlen and Venters were tied with Colorado’s Esmil Rogers for fifth-worst percentage of inherited runners stranded (53.3) among NL relievers. Each has allowed seven of 15 inherited runners to score.

Venters said general manager Frank Wren called him Thursday morning to tell him what the Braves planned to do.

“We talked about it and we felt like it was the best thing for the team and for myself,” Venters said. “In order for me to contribute and be a part of this team, I have to be right. I have to be healthy and, you know, be the guy from last year or whatever….

“I need to be right. I need to feel good, and feel confident and be ready to go. And at the same time, they need to have somebody there that can throw in Philadelphia [during this weekend’s series] and be confident in.”

Venters said he’ll resume throwing as soon as the symptoms are gone. Gonzalez indicated that he could make a couple of appearances at Triple-A Gwinnett before being activated, but there was not specific plan yet.

Venters threw back-to-back sliders on the wild pitch and home run Wednesday. In the past, he relied almost exclusively on his 94-95 mph sinkers, which were devastating against right- or left-handed hitters.

“The fastball [sinker] hasn’t been very good, so I’ve been trying to attack guys in different ways, throw some different pitches,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you’re not getting it done the way you normally do, you have to make an adjustment and try something new. [But] I don’t think it had any effect at all [on the elbow].

“Mechanically you go day to day [based upon] how you’re feeling. For me it kind of escalated over time where I was on the mound worrying about things I shouldn’t have been worrying about. I should have been worrying about making a quality pitch and just competing, as opposed to my timing or how my arm was doing.”

42 comments Add your comment

Screwball

July 5th, 2012
6:59 pm

Wish him all the best. Venters, that is. Not Fredi.

95RelivingEveryDay

July 5th, 2012
7:02 pm

rich

July 5th, 2012
7:05 pm

So, in a nutshell, he is hurt and he sux

No. 1 Braves Fan

July 5th, 2012
7:07 pm

Screwball: Why would you not wish Fredi the best?

Reid in EAV

July 5th, 2012
7:30 pm

What the F is an impingement???

And another strike out for Uggla

July 5th, 2012
7:36 pm

Shelfish Chipper need 2 retrie now!

July 5th, 2012
7:38 pm

If Chiper was truely the grate guy U all say he is he would step aside and let Borne take his palce on the all star rooster.

Dr.Braves

July 5th, 2012
7:44 pm

Is there an intelligent post in our future?

TexanBrave

July 5th, 2012
8:40 pm

Saw JV Tuesday might and his mound presence, even with the OK outing, indicated he’s looking to find something………not sure he knows what he”s looking for…. that’s the key to pitching……….not throwing…. Great arms need tutoring, coaching and often a psychologist………. Y’all can continue to point at Fredi but he needs to make a change with Roger and………. he won’t during the season and if not in the off-season….it’ll cost him his job.. Roger is very influential on the youngsters………and dangerous……..and the list goes on……..for his 7th year…….even at the JC level e know how to prep and coach up these young minds…….ugh

FREDI CAP TIPPING TIME GONZALEZ

July 5th, 2012
9:08 pm

Shelfish learn to spell if you wan to be taken seriously.

Cstcorazon

July 5th, 2012
9:12 pm

@ReidinEAV impingement is when a bone is putting pressure on a nerve or tendon. Usually a nerve. Causing pain and inflammation.

Disgusted

July 5th, 2012
9:27 pm

The way you have gone this yr, I will not miss you Johnny. When you come back either pitch better or give the game up.

We counted on you and you have been lousy in plain English.

Mark (another one)

July 5th, 2012
9:42 pm

Baseball is results oriented and it is obvious that JV has not been getting the results he or Braves fans want. That is probably leading to a loss of confidence and attempts to adjust. Let’s hope the inflamation subsides and he gets his confidence back. His sinker isn’t sinking, and when he figures it out he will be back to his productive self.

Leonard

July 5th, 2012
10:12 pm

Dan Uggla, not Chipper, should be the one stepping aside for Bourn. Uggla has absolutely no business in the All-Star game. He should pretend to be hurt. The Braves should put him on a fake injury too so he can be on the DL.

come on freddy

July 5th, 2012
11:35 pm

“We need him in the second half of the season. Not like the 2011 Jonny Venters, but somewhere between last year and what we’ve seen this year.”

so let me get this straight.
our idiot manager does NOT want the 2011 version of venters?

jer

July 6th, 2012
1:09 am

The problem is not Jonny Venters. Its the abuse of 164 outings in the 2 previous years dictated by Cox and Fredi, sometimes when he wasn’t needed at all. No one is “Jonny Every Day” and treating him as such caused his downfall.

MikeY

July 6th, 2012
5:45 am

Need to MRI his elbow, just to be sure it is OK.

redweather

July 6th, 2012
7:04 am

@Leonard, “Dan Uggla, not Chipper, should be the one stepping aside for Bourn.”

Amen, brother.

Rufus

July 6th, 2012
7:34 am

Just need a new pitching coach RM is not gonna get it done. But again the manager isn’t what he needs to be either. But what’s it going to take to get consistent hitting.

MikeY

July 6th, 2012
7:58 am

And McCann needs his eyes checked.

Rufus

July 6th, 2012
8:01 am

Need a new team attitude of winning,and that has to start at the TOPPPP

Rufus

July 6th, 2012
8:01 am

Need a new team attitude of winning,and that has to start at the TOPPPP

Can Of Corn

July 6th, 2012
8:17 am

RIGHT ON TOP OF THINGS FREDI

Fredi’s right on top of things again.

Why does it seem like Fredi’s always the last one to know?

It certainly demonstrates the level of confidence those around him have in him.

One really does get the impression that he’s “out of the loop.”

bostonbravo

July 6th, 2012
8:39 am

Leonard: I said exact same thing yesterday. Uggla is not fit to be in the majors last 2 yrs.
Does anyone know what the lowest BA for an All Star player is? Betcha SHRuggla will hold it.

Rick

July 6th, 2012
9:08 am

come on freddy, dude you’re just nitpicking here. Obviously his point was that we don’t need Jonny to pitch at the level he did last season, just better and more consistent than he is now.

benchwarmer

July 6th, 2012
9:18 am

Is this a case where Wren just called JV on the phone and said to him “you’re hurt kid, see ya in a couple of weeks”? He’s done that sort of thing before I think. Also I too am suspicious of all the sore arms over the last few years. Does the pitching coach have a part in that?

Lemke's Knuckler

July 6th, 2012
9:26 am

benchwarmer…”Also I too am suspicious of all the sore arms over the last few years.”

Based on that comment, I’ll assume you’ve never pitched before. It’s one of the most unnatural motions a human body can make. Stuff always hurts.

Rafael Ramirez

July 6th, 2012
9:52 am

Did anyone catch how Freddie said “not the 2011 Venters”- let’s not expect too much! Freddie, like most of the Braves are satisfied with mediocrity- he doesn’t expect players to perform their best. Wonder why we’re floundering- I don’t.

Rufus

July 6th, 2012
10:11 am

It seems like Wreen is running the team even moreso than freddi.If so he either needs to become manager and fire freddi or he needs to let freddi manage.

Rufus

July 6th, 2012
10:12 am

Darn keys are sticking againter your comments here

[...] Source: ajc.com [...]

John A.

July 6th, 2012
10:38 am

In order to have consistant hitting you need guys that have a track record of hitting. Starting at Little League, and carrying on thruout of the minors. You till can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Doug

July 6th, 2012
10:58 am

Well, here we are again. Mid-season, dead in the water and looking around for band-aids to see if we can back our way into the first round of the playoffs. I don’t have any answers. I’m just tired of this re-run.

Playoffs?????

July 6th, 2012
11:12 am

40 appearance by the half-way point of the season—-that’s a lot for a guy with off-and-on elbow, shoulder soreness this season.
Then, when you factor in the overuse in 2010 and 2011—-it’s no wonder he has arm problems.
All that use (and abuse) finally caught up to Venters and the Braves.

ed

July 6th, 2012
12:06 pm

the braves have no chance when your everyday 2nd baseman goes 2 for 30 on the recent homestand strikes out 18 times in 10 games never tries to go the other way and always hits into the biggest shift going becoming the biggest joke in mlb

chas

July 6th, 2012
1:16 pm

it seems that every one knows where uggla should be except fredi and uggla

BRAVELESS

July 6th, 2012
1:57 pm

FG is totally incompetent. If a pitchers is having problems pitching over two months and the manager is sitting on his butt waiting on someone to tell him about it then he is the problem. If he was an officer in a war zone he would get his whole company killed

bitman

July 6th, 2012
3:35 pm

@ Rufus: The scary part is that Wren might actually BE letting Fredi manage…

bitman

July 6th, 2012
3:40 pm

@ Doug “Well, here we are again. Mid-season, dead in the water and looking around for band-aids to see if we can back our way into the first round of the playoffs.” This is NOT what John Schuerholz promised us at the end of lat year…

ncgary

July 6th, 2012
4:40 pm

wheres moylan at at this point

I_R_HUMAN

July 6th, 2012
4:52 pm

The so called impingement is more than likely between the ears. He looks defeated. And am I the only one who hears whitenoise when Fredi G. says anything???

JBird

July 7th, 2012
10:53 am

I’m thinking cut loose Gonzalez & McDowell. Let Pendleton run the show and bring in Leo for the duration of 2012. Won’t happen but would be better than status quo.

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