Braves acquire former bullpen standout Jonny Venters in trade with Rays

Following multiple elbow surgeries and an extensive MLB comeback, Jonny Venters is heading back to Atlanta.

The Braves traded for the 33-year-old left-handed reliever and former franchise standout on Thursday night, sending international signing slot money to the Tampa Bay Rays in return. This is general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ first notable trade since the early portion of the season and the first move to aimed at addressing the surprise contender’s bullpen needs.

Venters is pitching in the majors for the first time since 2012, claiming a 3.86 ERA and 3.80 fielding-independent pitching in 14 innings pitched this season. Left-handed batters are hitting just .167/.231/.292 against him in 26 plate appearances. Braves relievers ranked fifth-worst in baseball with a 4.75 FIP against left-handed batters entering Thursday night’s games, the worst mark among teams above .500.

During his first stint in Atlanta, the former 30th-round pick developed into one of baseball’s best relief options.

In 230 appearances for the Braves, he struck out 26.6 percent of the batters he faced with a 3.00 FIP and tallied three wins above replacement. Among relievers with at least 150 innings pitched over that span, he ranked sixth in ERA behind only teammates Craig Kimbrel and Eric O’Flaherty, Sergio Romo, Mike Adams and Santiago Casilla. He finished eighth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2010 and made his lone All-Star appearances in 2011.