1. Rays

Rays bring Jonny Venters back to majors

Right-hander Hunter Wood is optioned.
Jonny Venters had a strong showing this spring for the Rays. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
Jonny Venters had a strong showing this spring for the Rays. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
Published Apr. 25, 2018
Updated Apr. 25, 2018

UPDATE, 5:34: Venters, understandably, was humbled and happy to make it back. "It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling," he said. "It's been an emotional day."

Venters was in uniform in the Durham clubhouse during rain delay when he got called in by manager Jared Sandberg and told he was being called up.

"I'm excited to be here, grateful for the opportunity," Venters said. "And hopefully go out and get some people out today."

Manager Kevin Cash said he plans to use Venters as a lefty specialist, and that there no limitations.

DEVELOPING: The Rays have called up LHP Jonny Venters, the former Braves star reliever who has not pitched in the majors since 2012.

Venters, 33, had been at Triple-A Durham, posting a 1.59 ERA in 5 games, after a strong showing this spring for the Rays.

He has returned from, as he likes to say, "3 1/2" Tommy John-type procedures. He had three Tommy John surgeries (2005, '13, '14) and a fourth surgery to re-attach a ligament in 2016.

To make room on the roster, the Rays optioned RHP Hunter Wood back to Durham. They had room on the 40-man roster following  the DFA of Brandon Snyder.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Venters will be the first All-Star to
return to the major leagues after missing at least 5 years – 5 years,
202 days if he pitches today – since P Justin Thompson, a 1997 All-Star
who returned with Texas on Aug 18, 2005 for his first game since Aug 15, 1999, a gap of 6 years, 3 days.

Per the Rays, the last player to get back to the majors after missing 5 years or more was St, Louis' Chad Huffman. He came June 8, 2017, his first game since July 3, 2010 (a span of 6 years, 340 days). The last pitcher to get abck after missing 5 years or more was the White Sox's Gregory Infante on May 15, 2017, which was his first game since Oct 1, 2010 (6 years, 226 days).