The Atlanta Braves might have the best bullpen in the National League and maybe even in all of Major League Baseball. That strong pen took a hit with the elbow discomfort of Jonny Venters this week. Venters is going to start the season on the disabled list and Fredi Gonzalez will have to scramble his guys in the pen to make up for the loss. Will it be a temporary loss or an extended one though?
Venters has had elbow trouble before. He is one of the few that has had Tommy John surgery and had complications after it. It is one of those things that flare of from time to time and it has done so now in a way that seems to be concerning. There was no big sign or obvious grabbing of the elbow, he just felt strange and called the doc out. When the team doctors and Gonzalez got there Venters said that it just didn’t feel right.
That could be a good thing if he caught it before doing any damage. Also, it could be one of those bad elbow discomfort things that doesn’t go away without another round of surgery. Whether he will have to tough his way through a pain ridden season, be fine or miss an extended period of time is unclear. What is certain is that the Braves pen has never been so happy to be so deep. The addition of Jordan Walden looms even larger now as he might wind up one of the few that have the stuff to take over Venters’ role. The Braves pen should still be very strong without a healthy Venters, just not quite as strong.