Both Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty have started their throwing programs with some light catch – they tossed from 30 feet for the first time Tuesday - as they took the next step in their returns from Tommy John surgery.
Venters and O’Flaherty had season-ending operations six days apart in May and are on the same throwing program.
O’Flaherty is eligible for free agency after this season but Venters is under Braves control as a second-year arbitration eligible player.
Venters said he doesn’t expect to be throwing off a mound until January or February and is targeting June for his return. He anticipates needing a little more than the usual 12-month recovery period, given that it’s his second TJ surgery. Venters underwent surgery on May 16.
Venters also had ligament transplant surgery for the first time as a minor leaguer in 2006.
He’s encouraged that his first time throwing, light as it was, was pain-free.
“It felt good,” Venters said. “It felt pretty normal actually. It was really, really light..but I was probably having pain with that short distance before I had surgery.”
Beachy shut down
Brandon Beachy had hoped he might have a chance to pitch in some capacity down the stretch, starting or in relief, but lingering soreness in his surgically-repaired right elbow has prompted the Braves to shut him down for the season, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Beachy made five starts after his comeback from Tommy John, going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA, but his elbow started bothering him again during an Aug. 20 start in New York.
An MRI taken showed no structural damage to the ligament but Beachy continued to have problems with inflammation as he tried to re-start his throwing program in the past few weeks.
The Braves haven’t been able to acquire the ace they might have wanted for the top of their rotation, but they secured the depth they needed Monday with the signing of free agent right-hander Gavin Floyd.
One week after the Braves were eliminated by the Dodgers in a four-game division series, Braves general manager Frank Wren met with the team’s beat writers and discussed the 2013 season and the team’s needs going into the offseason.