Venters' arm feels best it has all season

Venters' arm feels best it has all season

Venters' arm feels best it has all season
PHILADELPHIA -- Braves reliever Jonny Venters created some concern when he experienced left elbow discomfort just one week after coming off the disabled list. But since getting a chance to rest his elbow for another week, the 27-year-old has been encouraged by the way his left arm has felt.

"It really made a big difference, the ball is coming out as good as it has the whole year," Venters said. "It feels really good. I'm excited about it."

Venters ended his week-long absence when he entered Sunday's game against the Astros in the sixth inning with one out and runners at second and third base. He kept the game tied with a three-pitch strikeout of Matt Downs and by inducing an inning-ending groundout off J.D. Martinez's bat.

"It seemed like earlier this year when I was in that situation, I didn't get the job done very often," Venters said. "To go out there and get two righties out was definitely a confidence builder. Having my arm feel good and then feel good the next day was big."

It has been a trying year for Venters, who had combined to produce a 1.89 ERA in 164 appearances the previous two years. After going through April without allowing a run, he endured a 31-game stretch in which he produced a 6.08 ERA and allowed opponents to compile a .440 on-base percentage.

In the five appearances Venters has made since coming off the disabled list, he has completed 4 2/3 scoreless innings and gained the sense that he once again has his normal arm strength. His patented hard sinker hit 95 mph during Sunday's outing against the Astros.

"I know I picked up the ball [on Tuesday] and it felt great," Venters said. "Hopefully it will continue to feel good and I can finish the season strong."