After an eternity away, Venters returns to baseball

by Gary Shelton on April 26, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Robertson is hitting .340 on the year for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Robertson is hitting .340 on the year for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 3 a.m.

Four pitches. It doesn't sound like much, does it?

Three sliders and a fastball. Simple as that.

Two strikes looking, a ball and a groundout to third. Just that.

For relief pitcher Jonny Venters, however, it meant everything. It was the culmination of getting up three times after being struck down by  the baseball gods. It was five years of sweat and recovery. It was the realization of a dream that never stopped.

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Cron had a two-run double for Rays/CARMEN MANDATO

Cron had a two-run double for Rays/CARMEN MANDATO

Venters returned to a major league mound for the first time in five seasons (and after three Tommy John surgeries). Venters worked one batter in the sixth inning in the Rays' 8-4 victory, retiring Chris Davis on a grounder to third.

And he was back.

"It was amazing experience," Venters said. "Just to get out there was a special thing that I’ll never forget the rest of my life. A dream come true, really.It's been five years. It's like starting over more than coming back. I was nervous and excited.

Faria couldn't get through the fifth./CARMEN MANDATO

Faria couldn't get through the fifth./JEFFREY S. KING

"It kind of hit me when I got back to the dugout and looked around. I'm glad it went well. I soaked it all in. My nerves were flowing. I was excited."

Said Daniel Robertson: "Look at him. He’s an awesome guy. I was rehabbing in 2015, and you can’t meet a better person. You can’t beat him. He’s top notch. :

Venters was the human interest, but for the Rays, there were plenty of other moments to savor, too. It was the Rays' fifth straight win -- the most ever under Kevin Cash -- and their sixth in their last seven games. The Rays are now 9-13 on the season.

The Rays trailed 3-1 when they scored four runs in the fifth.

Joey Wendle had three hits, and Denard Span, Daniel Robertson and Adeiny Hechavarria all had two.

Pitcher Jake Faria struggled in his start, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up four earned runs. Andrew Kittredge got the win in 2/3 of an innings.

For the Orioles, former Ray Alex Cobb gave up 10 hits and five earned runs in just 4 2/3 innings.

The Rays and Orioles play again tonight at 7:05 p.m. Chris Archer will pitch against Dylan Bundy.




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