PHOENIX -- When Jonny Venters visited Dr. James Andrews six weeks ago, he gained hope that he could avoid undergoing elbow surgery. But the Braves' left-handed reliever is not expected to receive the same kind of encouragement when he visits the noted surgeon again on Thursday.
"We'll see," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I don't want to get into too many assumptions about what could happen."
After Andrews provided a platelet-rich-plasma injection on April 2, Venters rested his arm for four weeks and then experienced no discomfort while throwing on flat ground. But he experienced elbow discomfort as soon as he threw off a mound for the first time on Thursday in San Francisco.
When Venters experienced more discomfort while throwing approximately 15 more pitches off a mound on Friday, he seemed to understand he might not be able to avoid surgery.
Now Venters can only hope he will not have to undergo a second Tommy John elbow surgery. Andrews performed the original procedure on the lefty in 2005.
Because Venters had previously undergone Tommy John surgery, MRI exams do not provide a clear picture of the damage in his elbow. Andrews prescribed the PRP injection with the hope that it would repair the damaged tissue enough to allow Venters to resume pitching at some point this season.
Venters was one of the game's top relievers while posting a 1.89 ERA and combining to make a Major League-high 164 appearances during the 2010 and '11 seasons. He battled elbow discomfort last year and spent two weeks on the disabled list in July.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.