2013 Outlook: Venters' high K rate hints at big year

ATLANTA -- Jonny Venters counts himself fortunate to have gained some optimism from Tuesday's visit with Dr. James Andrews. Instead of learning that he would need to undergo surgery, the Braves left-handed reliever was pleased to hear his pitching elbow could return to health after a month of rest.

Andrews prescribed four weeks of rest after injecting Venters with a platelet-rich plasma, which is used to help heal damaged tissue. If all goes well, Venters could be cleared to begin a throwing program in early May.

Venters wore a brace to stabilize his arm as he spoke to reporters early Wednesday evening.

"It's always in the back of your mind when you have something like this that you don't really know what's wrong in there," Venters said. "But after talking to a few doctors and Dr. Andrews, they felt good about this PRP shot and that it could do the trick. So I came out of it positive and upbeat."

Because Venters had already undergone Tommy John surgery, the results of an MRI exam would not have been conclusive enough to determine why he battled elbow discomfort during the first half of last season and throughout most of March.

"I'm really not sure when I'll notice a difference other than when I start playing catch," Venters said. "So hopefully when I pick up a ball in four weeks or whenever they let me, it feels good."

Venters was not ready to commit to a specific timetable for his return. But he said he hopes to rejoin Atlanta's bullpen by the end of May.

"I just throw the ball and they tell me what I'm allowed to do," Venters said. "I'll try to push it as fast as I can. But whenever they tell me I'm good to go, I'm good to go."

Hudson to get extra day after opening start

NYM@ATL: Hudson limits Mets to two runs over six

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will give Tim Hudson an extra day of rest leading into his second start of the season. This means highly regarded prospect Julio Teheran will make his first start of the season on Saturday against the Cubs.

With Teheran set to start on Saturday, Hudson will start Sunday's series finale against the Cubs.

Hudson threw 90 pitches and lasted 4 1/3 innings in Monday's Opening Day win over the Phillies. The 37-year-old right-hander could benefit from the chance to get an extra day of rest. He went most of the Grapefruit League season concerned about his arm strength.

Gonzalez said he plans to give each of his starting pitchers an extra day of rest whenever the schedule allows during the early part of the season.

Worth noting

Brian McCann will return to the Braves' Spring Training complex on Thursday to resume serving as a designated hitter in extended spring training games. Still recovering from right shoulder surgery, McCann will not be cleared to serve as a catcher in a game before April 16. But he has been strengthening his legs and conditioning for the role while catching bullpen sessions.

Gonzalez has not revealed exactly how Gerald Laird and Evan Gattis will share the catcher's position while McCann is sidelined. But the manager said he plans to put Laird behind the plate whenever Teheran starts.