Odds and ends from a rainy Saturday
Rain prevented the Braves from doing the fielding and baserunning drills today. But Mother Nature wasn’t able to prevent Jair Jurrjens from taking another step in the right direction with the 20-minute long toss session he completed in the soggy outfield grass.
Jurrjens said he felt good after throwing from a distance of 120 feet, but more importantly he truly looked like he was comfortable with his throwing motion by the time this session was completed.
After throwing for five or 10 minutes, Jurrjens walked back toward Braves catcher Brian McCann, who was located along the left field foul line. While standing next to the team’s trainer Jeff Porter, Jurrjens stretched his arm and spun it around in a helicopter motion multiple times.
When he resumed throwing a few minutes later, Jurrjens’ throwing motion was looser and he seemed to have a little more life on his throws.
Dating back to Feb. 17, when he learned his right shoulder discomfort was a product of inflammation, Jurrjens has said he would have to do more stretching than usual to get his shoulder to cooperate.
Now it appears Jurrjens will get his next test on Monday, when he will likely begin throwing on a downward plane again off the mound. If all goes well, he will likely need to complete three or four side sessions before being cleared to make his first Grapefruit League start.
This puts him on schedule to make this start during March’s second week and be in position complete at least one five-inning appearance before the regular season begins.
In other words, there’s still a good chance Jurrjens will take his first turn through the rotation during the regular season’s first week. But for now, the Braves can only show patience as their prized 23-year-old hurler does everything he can to make sure the shoulder doesn’t prove to be a lingering problem throughout the season.
Quick hits: Bobby Cox said that he’s currently leaning toward starting the year with Nate McLouth as his leadoff hitter. This shouldn’t be too surprising. Yunel Escobar seems to be only other legit option and he’s too valuable in a run-producing role.
Tom Glavine is expected to arrive in camp around March 17 or 18. When asked what Glavine would do, Cox said the 300-game winner would take in the Spring Training environment and spend some time helping with some of the young pitchers.
“Tommy can do whatever he wants,” Cox said and I don’t think he was necessarily kidding. Glavine will have the opportunity to see how Jason Heyward is progressing and take a look at some of the organization’s top Minor League pitchers.
When the club’s top young pitchers are discussed, Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino, the prized return from the Yankees in the Javy Vazquez trade, immediately come to mind. But Frank Wren provided the reminder that right-hander Randall Delgado should also be placed in this advanced category.
Wren indicated that a couple of these top pitching prospects could begin the season with Class A Rome. But he added that they all will likely spend some time together this year in Class A -Advanced Myrtle Beach’s rotation.
Cox said that he will announce the Grapefruit League rotation on Monday. The team’s first game will be played on Tuesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie.