Joey Votto creates foundation to help those suffering from PTSD

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Joey Votto contributes to a good cause on the baseball field by getting on base nearly one out of every two times he comes to the plate, and hitting for power to boot. But now he’s contributing to a great cause off the field with the creation of the Joey Votto Foundation, aimed to support victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

PTSD is a condition people tend to develop after a traumatic event, as the name would imply. The condition is commonly linked with service men and women returning from combat overseas, but affects victims of sexual assault, nonsexual violence, and in Votto’s case, an unexpected death of a close family member or friend. As Votto details in a column for the Cincinnati Enquirer, his father died unexpectedly and it affected Votto profoundly. It wasn’t until he received treatment for PTSD that he understood the magnitude of the condition.

In 2008, during my second year in the majors, my father passed away suddenly. My grief led to overwhelming panic attacks and bouts of depression that landed me on the disabled list due to stress the following season.

I received much needed and very effective treatment.

Without it, I am not sure where I would be today.

I’ve combined my personal perspective on the healing power of clinical professionals with my appreciation for the deserving military heroes who need similar help. As a result, my off-the-field focus these days is on fighting for the cause of veterans and service members who need help healing their nonphysical wounds.

While Votto has been a polarizing figure recently in the ongoing feud between fans of traditional stats and fans of Sabermetrics, the Joey Votto Foundation is something everyone can get behind and support.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.