Atlanta Braves: Jonny Venters Injury Hurts In More Than One Way


Aug 29, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jonny Venters (39) during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jonny Venters’ left elbow injury is going to keep him out for the next four weeks.  Venters met with Dr. James Andrews Monday and as of right now surgery does not seem to be necessary for the 28 year old left-hander.  The bad news is that Andrews injected Venters’ elbow with platelet-rich plasma which requires Venters to be shut down for a minimum of four weeks.

Venters has arguably been one of the best relievers in the league.  Venters had 230 appearances in his first three seasons including a major league leading 85 in 2011, when he had a 1.84 ERA and limited hitters to a .176 batting average. Venters is second in appearances since 2010, behind only Sean Marshall (231), with 230.  Among all relievers during this period, Venters is third in innings (229-2/3), fourth in strikeouts (258), second in walks (110), and ninth in ERA (2.23). He had a little bit of a drop off last season posting a career high 3.22 ERA but pitched much better after a DL stint.

While Venters is out, the Braves will still have one of the best bullpens in baseball.  They will have to rely heavily on Eric O’Flaherty and Jordan Walden. O’Flaherty posted a 1.73 ERA in 64 appearances for the Braves last season being a great surprise for the club.  Jordan Walden was sent to the Braves in a trade that sent Tommy Hanson to the Angels. He posted a 3.46 ERA in 45 appearances while striking out 48 in 39 innings.

The Braves bullpen will have to carry the load while Venters is out.  This means more wear and tear for the staff and inexperienced relievers.  Fans are hoping for a quick recover but these are the types of injuries that seem to linger.

When he is eligible to return is it not a guarantee that he will return to his dominant form. Does this injury effect the Braves at all or will the Braves bullpen be able to pick up the slack?