Venters left Tuesday’s game favoring his left elbow, which is reportedly sprained. I fear it’s more serious than that.
You’ll recall JV spent time on the DL last July for an elbow “impingement” The fact that it’s giving him trouble this early in the season is worrisome, and even if he does return in two weeks you can’t help but wonder if he’ll regain effectiveness.
There are usually consequences to using a pitcher as often as the Braves have used Venters, who’s appeared in 230 games in three years.
Even without JV, the bullpen remains a strength, though it’s a tenuous one. Will EOF’s back hold up? Is Luis Avilan really as good as he looked in 2012? (He’s struggled this spring, although I know that’s COMPLETELY irrelevant.)
Fortunately, Jordan Walden — who’s had some health issues of his own — has traditionally been tougher against lefties even though he’s right-handed. If Venters is unavailable he figures to assume a much more prominent role in the late innings.