Braves place Venters on IL with calf strain

April 15th, 2019

ATLANTA -- Jonny Venters will have a chance to decompress and figure out why the first couple weeks of this season have been so frustrating.

The Braves announced Monday afternoon Venters was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right calf strain. A corresponding move will be announced Tuesday.

Venters authored a feel-good story when he returned to the Majors last year for the first time since 2012 and was named the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year. But the veteran southpaw, who has undergone what he considers to be 3 1/2 Tommy John surgeries, has retired just seven of the 18 batters he's faced this year.

After Venters struck out Michael Conforto to begin the eighth inning of Sunday night’s win against the Mets, he surrendered a single to the right-handed-hitting Wilson Ramos and then exited after allowing a double to Jeff McNeil, the second of the two left-handed hitters he faced.

Venters’ average velocity for both his fastball and slider have actually been higher than the average marks recorded over the entirety of the 2018 season. Scouts have also said his sinker has had good action. But the results have been far different than last year, when he posted a 3.67 ERA over 50 appearances (34 1/3 innings) for the Rays and Braves.

“He’s throwing the ball good, but it’s off a tick,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Sunday night. “It’s coming out good and all that.”

When Venters struggled against right-handed hitters during Spring Training, it looked like he might be primarily limited to situational duty. But left-handed hitters have gone 3-for-9 and drawn four walks against the 34-year-old reliever, while right-handed hitters have gone 3-for-4 with two homers and a walk.