Jonny Venters isn’t sure where this goes from here. He isn’t sure if he will ever play baseball again. He isn’t sure, really, if his left arm will let him.

But what Venters does know, what he clings to, what he considers whenever quitting starts to feel right, is that trying is his only real option. At least one more time.

“My back is against the wall because I don’t know anything else,” Venters, 34, said, about three weeks after he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. “I don’t have a college degree. I don’t have a backup plan, so to speak ...”

Venters voice trailed off, and he was quiet for a moment. He rubbed two fingers against his shadow of a beard, picking at the specks of gray in it, trying to pretend, if only he could, that this weren’t too big of a deal. He was sitting at his locker in the home clubhouse at Nationals Park in early August. His season was over, once again, and he had a suitcase packed for a flight home to Atlanta.