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Venters experiences setback, remains determined

Braves lefty reliever feels discomfort in 15-pitch side session Sunday

ATLANTA -- Braves reliever Jonny Venters is holding out hope that he will eventually beat the odds by returning from a second Tommy John surgery. But the past couple of weeks have certainly tried his patience and reminded him of the significant challenge he faces.

"In my mind, I was hoping it was going to be easy, but I was kind of knowing it wasn't," Venters said.

Venters experienced another setback as he threw approximately 15 pitches during a side session Sunday. The lefty experienced discomfort that he described as comparable to what he had felt when he had last been on the mound during a May 14 live batting practice session.

After examining Venters again Sunday, the Braves' medical staff maintained their belief that his left elbow is structurally sound. The belief is that his discomfort is a product of scar tissue that is placing a strain on the flexor muscle.

"I guess the scar tissue is attached to the flexor [muscle]," Venters said. "When it starts to pull away, it creates some strain. … It's one of those things you have to battle through, get through it and get better for it."

Venters will continue to be evaluated as he rests his arm this week. His goal to return to Alanta's bullpen sometime in June might be diminishing. But he remains committed to enduring this trying process with the hope of pitching at the Major League level again.

"We'll just see how it responds and take it day by day," Venters said. "It's tough when you get to this part of the program and you have a solid plan and you don't know how it's going to react to new effort levels and new challenges."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for
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