Inside Jonny Venters’ emotional comeback, 3.5 Tommy Johns later

For the better part of the past six years, ever since he underwent the second of his 3? Tommy John surgeries, Jonny Venters had the good fortune to spend an inordinate amount of time with his family. To have dinners together and handle carpool duty and scratch off items from a honey-do list. A couple of months ago, that upside subsided.

Just days after the birth of his baby girl in February, nfl jerseys for cheap Venters — a former All-Star pitcher with the Braves who was trying to make it back to the majors for the first time since 2012 — kissed his wife and kids goodbye and, for the first time in forever, headed south to spring training. Two months later, there he was in Durham, home of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Triple-A affiliate, dreaming of two things: a family reunion and a call-up (not necessarily in that order).158

On Wednesday, April 25, Venters and the Durham Bulls were supposed to host a 10:35 a.m. getaway game. The Bulls were scheduled for a day off on Thursday, followed by a three-game weekend series in Gwinnett, Georgia. So right after the final out on Wednesday, Venters would make the six-hour drive from Durham to Suwanee, the Atlanta suburb where his wife and three young children lived. They would spend an entire day and a half together, pretending they were a normal family.

As fate would have it, that Wednesday morning getaway game started out in a rain delay that threatened to keep Venters in Durham longer than planned, threatened to keep him from his family. An hour or so into the delay, right around noon, Venters found himself in manager Jared Sandberg’s office, hearing the words he thought he might never hear again.

Adds Pirates hurler Jameson Taillon, another Tommy John survivor: “As a pitcher, your job is to go out and compete for your team. When you can’t do that, you feel helpless. So when you’re not pitching, you really have to find what your worth in life is off the baseball field.”

Ultimately, Venters decided that his potential worth on the diamond, even after a fourth surgery, was greater than his value off it. The decision was aided by the fact that this injury was slightly different than the previous three. Instead of the ligament fraying in two and requiring a graft, cheap nfl authentic jerseys it had detached from the bone. As such, Dr. Neal Elattrache, who had performed Venters’ third Tommy John (Dr. Andrews did the first two), was offering a less invasive reattachment procedure that would result in a shorter rehab period. Not that time was of the utmost concern.

“There was nothing to lose, except for maybe a little bit of time,” says Venters. “I didn’t want to be 40 years old and looking back and wishing I would’ve done something differently or worked harder or tried it again. If it didn’t work out, we weren’t out anything.”