Left-hander Jonny Venters last pitched in the big leagues on Oct. 3, 2012. Nearly six seasons and three Tommy John surgeries later, the 33-year-old is back.
The Rays announced they selected the contract of Venters from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday afternoon.
Venters, an All-Star with the Braves in 2011, is 15-10 with a 2.23 ERA in 229 2/3 career innings, all in relief with Atlanta.
The southpaw signed with the Rays as a free agent in December, and he allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out six in 5 2/3 frames for Durham before his promotion.
Based on Jon Roegele's oft-cited Tommy John surgery database, Venters will become the first pitcher to come back from three elbow ligament replacement operations to pitch in the Majors.
Though Jose Rijo and Jason Isringhausen are often cited to have had three surgeries apiece, Roegele does not recognize either pitcher as a three-time recipient of the surgery, because for each, at least one of the surgeries addressed a flexor tendon tear, not a UCL tear. Venters also underwent a fourth elbow surgery, a "half-Tommy John," in 2016.