Jonny Venters managed to avoid surgery on his left elbow following a visit to Dr. James Andrews last month, but his attempt to rehab the injury has hit a snag.
Venters threw off the mound today for the first time since he received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his elbow four weeks ago, but David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that he had to shut it down after about 10 pitches due to soreness. It’s not clear what the next step will be, but he said that it “just didn’t feel very good.”
Venters was an important cog in the Braves’ bullpen from 2010-2012, posting a 2.30 ERA over 230 appearances. Only Reds’ left-hander Sean Marshall (231 appearances) pitched in more games during the same timespan. It appears that the heavy workload may be catching up with him.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.