"Jonny's fine. Jonny's a hell of a pitcher," said the Braves' skipper. "He's fine. It's just one of those things."
Venters' one inning of work in Monday night's 3-1 loss to the Reds, in which he allowed two runs on three hits, raised his ERA to 3.29. File that under unusual, as well, as the last time his ERA was even close to that was last April 4, when it ballooned to 3.38. At that point, the season was three games old and he'd pitched 2 2/3 innings, having allowed one earned run.
Gonzalez believes that Venters, who earned the nickname "Everyday Jonny" while in the process of making 164 combined appearances in 2010 and 2011, may actually be a victim of not being used enough.
Through the first 36 games, Venters has seen action 15 times and four times in back-to-back games. Last year he had made 18 appearances by Game No. 36 and had been used five times in back-to-back games.
The subject has been food for thought for Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell, a sinkerball specialist in his 12-year Major League career.
"The old adage is that, with sinkerball pitchers, the more work that they have, that sinker works more," said Gonzalez. "He's been as fresh as he could be. Maybe we should start running him in four or five days in a row, so we can start calling him 'Everyday Jonny again."
"I don't know if Jonny gets frustrated," he added. "I've really never seen him frustrated. I'm sure he doesn't like to give up two runs, especially when it's a 1-1 game, but he's pretty level-headed that way. I'm sure he and Roger will work on something to get him back on track."