VIERA, Fla. -- Early indications are that Jonny Venters' ailing left elbow is structurally sound. But the Braves are waiting to get a better understanding of how long Venters will be sidelined.
Venters exited Tuesday's game against the Tigers with what the Braves are currently calling a sprained left elbow. Members of their medical staff will continue to evaluate the left-handed reliever to determine what is causing the elbow discomfort.
If Venters' elbow is structurally sound, there is a chance that his discomfort could be the result of a bone chip or bone spur. He spent two weeks on the disabled list last year with what was termed a left elbow impingement.
"I've got my fingers crossed that it isn't anything major," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Regardless of the diagnosis, Venters is expected to begin this year on the disabled list. There is certainly reason to believe that he will be shut down for at least two weeks. After Venters issued four walks in a March 13 game against the Cardinals, the Braves gave him 10 days of rest. He returned to action by completing a pain-free inning during a Minor League game on Saturday. But he was not as fortunate in Tuesday's game against the Tigers, when he issued two walks and allowed two hits while facing five batters before exiting.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.