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Heavy workload catches up to Jonny Venters and his elbow

Jul 5, 2012, 1:50 PM EDT

Braves' Venters walks back to mound after allowing a run on a single by Phillies' Ibanez during eighth inning of their MLB National League game in Atlanta Reuters

Jonny Venters‘ left arm may have finally succumbed to the strain of his heavy workloads, as the Braves placed the setup man on the disabled list with an elbow impingement.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes that there has never been any talk of Venters being hurt until now, but there have been signs within his performance dating back to late last season.

Venters was ridiculously good last year and the Braves rode him extremely hard, calling on the left-hander for a league-leading 85 appearances and 88 innings. He faded down the stretch, posting a 5.65 ERA in his final 15 games compared to a 1.10 ERA through 70 games.

He bounced back this season by allowing zero earned runs in April, but since May 1 he has a 6.08 ERA. That includes six homers and 18 runs allowed in 24 innings after Venters allowed a grand total of two homers and 19 runs in 88 innings last season. Of course, Venters also has 26 strikeouts in those 24 innings since May 1 and if he’s been able to do that while pitching through an injury … well, that’s pretty damn amazing.

Since the beginning of 2010 the Braves have called on Venters for 204 appearances, which is the most in baseball and no one else is above 193. He was ridden hard and put away wet.

  1. hasbeen5 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Dusty Gonzalez

    • 78mu - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Anyone that couldn’t see this coming after his fade at the end of 2011 was not paying attention.

  2. runyetirun - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    something something Barves

  3. stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Elbow “impingement.” Really Aaron? You went with “impingement?”
    Elbow problems. Elbow issues. Elbow injury. Nope. Elbow “impingement.”

    • Aaron Gleeman - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      I didn’t choose that wording for his injury, the Braves did.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        Hahaha! Glad to hear that. I was really just giving you a hard time.
        I thought it was funny. “Impingement.” I can totally see the club using that word.

  4. chew1985 - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Venters looked to me like he might be the best closer ever; but now this. Simply more confirmation of why Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time. He has done it better and longer than anyone. There are many stories like Venters’. Some pitches are themselves arm destroyers waiting to happen.

    And how in the heck did Warren Spahn win 20 games year after year after year {363 in all} without hardly ever ending up on the DL? Only the baseball gods know.

    One thing I do know is that sidearm and 3/4 arm pitchers rarely visit the DL. Maybe some little league coaches could start a tradition of sending a few more Kent Tekulves and Jim Bunnings along on their way to the big leagues. Their careers will last much longer.

    • shawndc04 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      >>And how in the heck did Warren Spahn win 20 games year after year after year {363 in all} without hardly ever ending up on the DL? Only the baseball gods know.<<

      Spahn was not a hard thrower. He pitched to spots and to contact, and had a devastating screwball when he needed an out pitch. Also, take a look at his windup; he got a lot out of it and did not unduly stress his arm.

  5. randygnyc - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    The Screwball is the most stressful pitch on the human arm, btw.

    • 78mu - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      That’s what I thought. Screwballs are harder on an arm than regular curves so why would Spahn throwing screwballs help his arm?

  6. willsolo - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    I’m sure Craig is none to happy about this…

    • foreverchipper10 - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      None of us Braves fans are but honestly, he hasn’t been himself at all this year as noted by his stats above. If he needs some time off to get healthy and pitch half as well as last year down the stretch we will all rejoice. Get well soon Jonny.

  7. buffalo65 - Jul 5, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Mark Prior.

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