October 8, 2018 - Atlanta: Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker gives the ball to relief pitcher Jonny Venters (48) during a pitching change in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of a National League Division Series baseball game Monday, October 8, 2018, in Atlanta. Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

Jonny Venters’ rehab going well as he draws closer to return

Venters has been sidelined with a right-calf strain since April 15. He was off to a slow start, allowing six runs while walking five in 2-2/3 innings. But he’s impressed during his extended rehab stint in Triple-A.

The southpaw has tossed six scoreless innings, allowing two hits, striking out five and walking one. The Braves wanted him on a lengthier rehab to make sure he was right physically and mentally.

“He’s looking really good,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I mean really good. He’s doing exactly – he’s been down there throwing, the reports and numbers are really, really good. It’s just a matter of time before we bring him back.”

We didn’t want him to do one or two outings. We wanted to make sure, because we had the time, that he’s feeling good. We wanted to get him multiple times out there.”

Jesse Biddle, another left-hander on rehab assignment, pitched two perfect frames Monday. He’s not as far along as Venters, and he could also end up on a longer assignment to straighten out his troubled command in the early season.

In the meantime, newcomer Jerry Blevins and unsung contributor Josh Tomlin have already softened the blow. Blevins has pitched in five games since April 28, providing 2-1/3 scoreless frames. Tomlin, who made the team as a long-reliever, has allowed five runs over 14-2/3 innings.

“They both have been really solid,” Snitker said. “They’ve been through the wars and they know what it is to do this. They’re guys (the young players) can turn to and talk to. They’ve been there, done that. It’s good to have that voice for those guys.”

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