Kris Medlen going for second opinion after MRI shows ligament damage

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Braves right-hander Kris Medlen will seek a second opinion after an MRI exam on his sore elbow showed “some involvement of the ligament.” In other words: Not good.

Medlen exited Sunday’s game after grabbing his elbow following one pitch and then short-hopping his next pitch to the plate, making his way into the Braves’ dugout. It looked ugly at the time, especially considering Medlen has already come back from one Tommy John elbow surgery, but the initial diagnosis was a forearm strain.

Brandon Beachy is also hurting, leading to some speculation that the Braves could make a late run at free agent Ervin Santana to help boost their banged-up starting rotation. For now, though, the Braves are saying publicly that they hope Beachy’s injury isn’t serious. And they’ll hold their breath holding for some not-horrible news on Medlen.

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.