Jurrjens survives Minor League test

This certainly wasn’t the kind of performance Jair Jurrjens is hoping to provide when he takes the mound to face the Cubs at Turner Field on April 7. 

But after allowing a pair of runs and plunking a couple of the Tigers Minor Leaguers that he faced at Disney on Monday afternoon, the Braves right-hander still seemed pretty satisfied with the effectiveness of the slider that he displayed with great regularity.

More importantly, he was once again able to extend his shoulder a little further without feeling any of the discomfort that was present during the early days of camp.  

“Right now, I’m not worried about how many runs I give up,” Jurrjens said. “I’m just working on the quality of my pitches and getting ready for the season.” 

Forced to pitch in this Triple-A Minor League game because his scheduled start on Sunday was rained out, Jurrjens allowed two hits and five earned runs in four innings.  He threw 36 of his 55 pitches for strikes, hit two batters and didn’t issue a walk. 

“Any pitcher I’ve ever known gets killed when they pitch in these (Minor League) games,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “JJ was fine.  He looked really good in the second inning.  His velocity was there and he got to throw all of his pitches.” 

Jurrjens’ first pitch was drilled to left field by Danny Worth and six pitches later Casper Wells was drilled by a wayward fastball.  Brennan Boesch delivered an RBI double to the right-center field gap before the Braves hurler completed the first inning with the second of the seven flyouts that he recorded on the afternoon. 

While facing the bottom three hitters in the Tigers lineup, Jurrjens worked a perfect second inning that included two of his three strikeouts.  His third-inning troubles began when he got ahead with an 0-2 count and then hit his second batter of the afternoon. 

Three batters later Boesch tallied his second RBI with the second of consecutive two-out singles surrendered by Jurrjens, who was one pitch away from a perfect fourth before surrendering a two-out double on a 3-2 fastball that had “I don’t want to issue a walk” written all over it.

Jurrjens will make two more starts during the exhibition season and when he takes the mound to face the Nationals on Saturday, he said he plans to approach the outing like he would a normal start. 

In other words, we won’t be seeing him test his slider as much as he did this afternoon against the Tigers Minor Leaguers.   

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