Venters close to throwing first live batting practice

The Braves did have some positive news from the bullpen Saturday, when manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Jonny Venters is on target to throw his first live batting practice on Friday.

Friday will be one day after Venters’ year-anniversary of his second Tommy John surgery. Given that he’s is coming back from his second TJ surgery – he had his first as a minor leaguer in 2006 - the Braves have been playing it cautious with Venters. But it’s a significant step to face hitters for the first time, in his progression toward a minor league rehabilitation assignment. Venters doesn’t figure to be ready to return until mid-June at the earliest.

“I don’t even know that far ahead when he’ll start his rehab assignment,” Gonzalez said. “But that’s a big step when we feel comfortable enough to start throwing batting practice.”

Like Jordan Walden, Venters will travel to Orlando when the team heads for San Francisco and will continue to throw bullpen sessions there leading up to Friday’s live bp.