In a move that many were calling for after yet another subpar outting last night, the Atlanta Braves have moved Jonny Venters to the disabled list with what is being termed an "elbow impingement". It's uncertain yet how much time Venters will be out, but elbow injuries for any pitcher are never a good sign.
It's obvious that Venters had not been himself this year, and a quick look at his numbers reaffirms that. Venters threw 171 innings during the 2010 and 2011 season, allowing only 3 home runs across both years while giving up around 6 hits per 9 innings. In 2012 however, Venters has already allowed 6 homers in a mere 32 innings pitched, while giving up 11.4 hits per 9 innings. His groundball rate has also fallen off this year, down to 1.56 GB/FB from 2.17 (2010) and 2.71 (2011). It's obviously not a problem with his stuff, as his strikeout rate is the highest of his career at 12 K/9 so far this year. Hopefully some rest and rehab will get Jonny back on the right track, and we'll update when we have a better idea of his treatment and recovery.
Taking Venters' place in the Braves' bullpen will be Luis Avilan, a 22 year old lefty called up from AA Mississippi. Avilan, who has spent most of the year as a starter, has compiled a 3.23 ERA in 61.1 innings pitched. Over the same time, Avilan has posted a strikeout to walk ratio of 55/31. Avilan will most likely be used as a lefty specialist out of the pen, and his numbers against lefties are fairly impressive. This year against lefties, Avilan has posted a 22/6 strikeout to walk ratio against lefties, holding them to a .189 batting average against. Avilan will wear #43 and will be in the bullpen for this evening's game with the Cubs.