Feb 16, 2014; Lake Buena Vistas, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Jonny Venters (39) smiles during spring training at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Braves' Jonny Venters facing third Tommy John surgery

Braves pitcher Jonny Venters has torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow for the third time. He was rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery when the injury occurred.

If Venters ever wants to pitch in the Majors again, he will have to have his third Tommy John surgery. The chances of Venters returning after a third procedure are slim and relatively unknown.

Very few pitchers  have ever had the procedure three times and tried to return to baseball. Those that have returned were not their former selves. After one Tommy John surgery many pitchers come back and are better than ever.

However, in recent years the number of Tommy John surgeries has gone up drastically, some have even called it an epidemic. Many young pitchers are having their second surgeries before the age of 30 years old. Venters is one of those players.

Coming back from a second surgery can be extremely rough on a pitcher. Venters recently estimated that his fastball was only getting up to a mere 80 mph. Though Venters tried he couldn’t get up to feeling 100% before re-tearing his UCL.

“We couldn’t get him (over) the hump — that’s what (trainer) Bubba (Porter) said, there’s got to be something,” Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He was probably at 50, 60, 70 percent.”

Gonzalez went on to say,

“I feel for the young man. I called and left a message. I’m sure we’ll see him on the homestand (which begins Friday) and see what his decision is in the next couple days.”

No one wants their career to be over before it has really gotten started but that is what it appears will likely happen to Venters. Both his recoveries have been long and laborious which does not bode well for him coming back from surgery number three.

Only two pitchers are known to have come back from a third Tommy John surgery. They are Jason Isringhausen and Jose Rijo and neither pitched very long after the third surgery. Venters hopes to play again one day which is admirable but sadly it isn’t exactly realistic.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Jonny Venters

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