Braves may sit Venters over weekend

Braves may sit Venters over weekend

Braves may sit Venters over weekend
SEATTLE -- After Jonny Venters surrendered a two-run homer in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Mariners, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is thinking about resting his valuable left-handed reliever for at least a few days during this weekend's series against the Orioles.

"We're not concerned about it, but we may have to give him a couple days just so he can recharge," Gonzalez said. "He's too valuable for us and we want him for the long haul."

Venters cruised through the first half of this season until allowing four two-out runs in Sunday's loss to the Padres. The setup man had allowed just three runs in the previous 48 1/3 innings he worked this year. A sinkerball artist, he returned to the mound Tuesday and recorded a couple of long flyball outs, including one that forced Jason Heyward to crash into the right field wall.

Venters' struggles extended after he entered Wednesday's eighth inning with a four-run lead. The two-run shot served up to Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley was just the second home run he's surrendered in 134 career innings. Both homers have been hit by left-handed hitters -- Ackley, and Joey Votto on July 30 of last year.

"My sinker has been up in the zone," Venters said. "I don't know if it's because I'm tired or whatever. I feel fine. I'm just missing my spots and it's been up in the zone. I'm falling behind, and it's just been tough.

"When the location is up, my stuff doesn't sink as much. If it was down, I think it would still have the same action. I've been missing up and falling behind guys. You can't get anybody out like that."

Venters has made 46 appearances this year -- at least four more than any other Major League pitcher -- and worked 51 innings, which also easily leads all Major League relievers.

Dating back to last year's rookie season, Venters has made 125 appearances -- at least three more than any other reliever -- and worked 134 innings. He and the Nationals' Tyler Clippard are the only big league relievers to have worked at least 130 innings during this span.

"I feel fine, it's just a rough stretch," Venters said. "I'm not making pitches, and they're making me pay for it."