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Rays invite Venters to camp after 3rd Tommy John surgery



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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Relief pitcher Jonny Venters has been invited to big league spring training by the Tampa Bay Bays while trying to come back from his third Tommy John surgery.

The 32-year-old lefty hasn't pitched in the majors since the 2012 NL wild-card card game for Atlanta. He had elbow ligament replacement operations with Dr. James Andrews in 2005 and 2013 and with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in 2014.

Venters spent last season in the minors for Tampa Bay, pitching at four levels and reaching Triple-A. He had a 2.28 ERA in 24 games.

Venters made his major league debut in 2010 with Atlanta and was an All-Star the next year. He often dominated in the Braves bullpen over three seasons, going 15-10 with a 2.23 ERA in 230 games and striking out 258 in 229 2/3 innings.

Beset by elbow trouble, he didn't play pro ball from 2013-15. He briefly pitched for the Rays in the low minors in 2016 and had a fourth surgery on his elbow to re-attach a ligament, by ElAttrache.

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