David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Atlanta Braves will shut down left-handed reliever Jonny Venters for four weeks as he deals with a sprained left elbow. ESPN had previously reported that Venters will consult with sports injury guru Dr. James Andrews, who previously performed surgery on Venters in 2005. Andrews gave Venters a platelet-enriched plasma injection in the elbow yesterday.
The 28-year old was arguably the best left-handed reliever in all of baseball over his first two seasons, posting ERAs of 1.95 and 1.84 respectively. Venters also established a reputation of being workhorse, leading the league in appearances in 2011 with 85.
Venters saw his numbers take a hit last year, as his ERA increased to 3.22 and his appearances decreased to 66. While the appearances could have been due to the Braves’ variety of other options, his innings were slashed by 29.1 and it was clear to the naked eye that Venters just wasn’t the same in 2012.
While the news is slightly beneficial to the Nationals as they look to gain some early ground on the rival Braves, Atlanta is not without caliber replacements for Venters. Both Christhian Martinez and Anthony Varvaro now have spots on the 25-man roster, and offseason acquisition Jordan Walden will provide some strikeouts as well.
The Nationals will play their first series against the Braves starting next Friday (April 12) at Nationals Park. The three-game set will be played throughout the weekend on Saturday and Sunday before the Nationals head down to Miami on Monday.