MLB pitcher making unlikely comeback after three Tommy John surgeries

Here’s an early contender for baseball feel-good story of the year: After three Tommy John surgeries, Jonny Venters is back in the big leagues!

If you don’t remember Venters, that’s OK. He hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2012. In 2010 and 2011, Venters was one of the best relievers in baseball. He compiled a 1.89 ERA over 171 innings, with 189 strikeouts for the Atlanta Braves over that period.

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His performance started to fall off in 2012, and then the injuries started to pile up. Despite multiple Tommy John surgeries, Venters refused to give up.

His persistence paid off Wednesday, when the Tampa Bay Rays announced that after five years away, Venters was coming up to the big leagues again.


Venters technically says he had three-and-a-half Tommy John surgeries. He underwent his first procedure before he even reached the majors in 2005. He had his second in 2013, his third in 2014 and then had a reinforcement surgery on the same elbow in 2016.

What Venters has done is pretty unprecedented. Former reliever Jason Isringhausen pitched in the majors after three Tommy John surgeries … and that’s pretty much it. Isringhausen might be the only one. If there are more, it’s a short list.

Simply getting back to the majors should be considered a major win for Venters. What he did was nearly impossible. It’s a credit to his perseverance and determination that he’s back after such a tough journey.

Jonny Venters is back after multiple Tommy John surgeries. (AP Photo)
Jonny Venters is back after multiple Tommy John surgeries. (AP Photo)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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