Braves still waiting to make decision on Jurrjens

Jair Jurrjens (AP Photo/John Amis)


Jair Jurrjens seems to be ready to make his scheduled regular season debut Wednesday in Milwaukee.  But the Braves seem prepared to take the precautionary route by placing him on the disabled list.

If Jurrjens is placed on the disabled list, he could be activated for next Saturday’s game against the Phillies.  Given that he would only have to wait an extra three days to make the debut under this scenario, the Braves might be wise to go this route and give Wednesday’s start to Mike Minor.

By putting him on the DL, the Braves also give Jurrjens a chance to knock off some of the rust he’s developed since exiting his March 24 exhibition start after just one inning because of discomfort in his right side.   If he starts Wednesday in Milwaukee, he would be 12 days removed from last week’s one-inning effort.

Jurrjens doesn’t believe there’s any reason for concern heading toward his scheduled side session Sunday morning.  But if necessary, the Braves could take advantage of an early offday and actually allow him to rest until April 16.  Under this scenario, Minor still would only be needed for next Wednesday’s start in Milwaukee.

Jurrjens’ thoughts will be posted in today’s BEAT, which will also include notes on Fredi Gonzalez’ decision to send Jonny Venters to the mound for Thursday’s eighth and Craig Kimbrel to the mound for the ninth. Basically Gonzalez went into the game with the mindset that Kimbrel would serve as his closer.

I would guess this is the mindset Gonzalez will take most of the time.  But he says he will be very careful with his young relievers and do whatever he can to make sure they don’t pitch more than two days in a row during the early portion of the season.

Even with the Nationals starting left-hander John Lannan Saturday, Gonzalez kept the left-handed Brian McCann in the cleanup spot and the right-handed Dan Uggla in the fifth spot of the lineup.   He says he will likely go with this arrangement whenever all of his regulars are in the lineup.


BRAVES LINEUP for 4/2 @ Nationals

Prado 7

McLouth 8

Chipper 5

McCann 2

Uggla 4

Heyward 9

Gonzalez 6

Freeman 3

Hanson 1


Hey Mark,
Can you please tell Fredi Gonzalez how utterly retarded it is to bat Jason Heyward in the 6th spot and not in the 2nd spot where he belongs. Nate McLouth already has two more at bats than Heyward this year. His brilliant OBP numbers will not be maximized with Gonzo, Freeman, and the pitcher hitting behind him instead of the three other best hitters on the team. It’s madness.

Sane Braves Fans

So who bats 6th then? Heyward’s there to protect Uggla.

I personally like Jason in the fourth spot and McCann in the sixth spot.

Hey, don’t rag on McLoopyArm. He is almost back up to his average of last season.. Beside, Brandon will compare him to Freddie Freeman, if you do.

Tough luck day at the plate for Prado today. Also, nice to see Uggla and Gonzalez provide some power vs LHP.

Not worried about Martin everything he hit was laced and right at someone. The problem that I’m pointing out with Mclouth is, that that swing looks eerily familiar. If it he hadn’t been able to be able to act his way into a HBP……. BTW when that ump sees that replay, he is gonna be pissed.

Why would you “protect” Uggla with the best hitter on the team? He is hitting SIXTH. Who is “protectiing” Heyward? Gonzalez? Freeman?? He is one off the best OBP hitters in baseball, so when he isn’t hitting home runs or doubles+ he is walking and hitting singles. So the two weakest hitters on the team are behind him. Heyward hitting second was the best decision Bobby made last year. The 1 2 3 of the lineup only really happens once in the first inning. You want to maximize his at bats and give him as many as possible. Heyward on 2nd or 3rd with the pitcher’s spot up is going to cost this team a lot of runs until Fredi decides he wants to start being “Johnny Manager” (his own words). I like Fredi, but he has alread made some awful decisions. Heyward in the 6 spot as well as acknowledging that he won’t be playing the numbers in the ninth inning. We have an amazing righty in Kimbrel and an amazing lefty in Venters. But Fredi wants a traditional closer instead of playing the numbers. Heyward “protecting” Uggla is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. If I were the opposiing manager I would pitch around Heyward to get to Gonzo and Freeman every time. !!!!!!!!

A couple of things in response:
– Joe Simpson said on the telecast yesterday that Jim Riggleman bats Werth 2nd because with Zimmerman batting behind him, Werth will get pitches to hit. In effect, being “protected” by Zimmerman, the team’s best hitter. So it’s not unheard of to have your best hitter protecting someone in front of him.
– Fredi said he wants Heyward to bat 6th because he’s more of a run-producer than a table-setter. BTW, you still haven’t said who you’d rather bat 6th than Heyward.
– Gonzo and Freeman are the two weakest hitters on the team according to you? May I remind you that McLouth still hasn’t redeemed himself from last season yet?
– Closer-by-committee SUCKS. There’s a reason that very few teams use it… and the ones that try to use it don’t have much success. It’s shown not to be sustainable, since one pitcher always comes out to be more effective than the other. Name one dominant team that has used closer-by-committee with success.

To your points, I don’t foresee this batting order hanging around long. Two games in is WAY too early to start throwing stones, though.

-It’s not unheard of, but it’s still not smart. Just like Bobby Cox last year, Riggleman has accidentally created a near-optimized lineup.
-Anybody is better than Heyward. Switching McLouth and Heyward would be just fine.
-True. But the idea of “protection” is completely overblown and shouldn’t really be considered at all.
-That’s because manager’s don’t use it correctly. Your “closer” is usually your best relief pitcher and should therefore be used in the most high-leverage situation, which isn’t necessarily the 9th.
-I agree, hopefully Fredi soon sees that this lineup isn’t the best.

With the possible exception of Chipper, I’d pitch around Heyward to get to anybody else on this team. That said, I really prefer Heyward playing Defensive End to Heyward playing Safety. Every team in the league would love to continue to face Heyward leading off an inning or with nobody on base in scoring position. Batting him 2nd last season guaranteed that situation. Batting 6th he was on pace for 120 RBI. Once he got to 2nd, he produced almost no runs. He had half his RBIs by May 29, 150 ABs into the season. The Braves cannot afford to have Heyward hit .300 for 3 months and knock in 26 Runs again this season. When Heyward is walked with runners in scoring position, I can guarantee you the opposing manager does not mutter to himself “Man, I just can’t keep that kid off base.” They consider that dodging a bullet, and if the next guy knocks in the runs, at least they didn’t let Heyward beat them. Again for those who have forgotten, Puhols is not awesome because he has a high OBP, he has a high OBP because he is awesome.

Two games a season does not make. But is it me or is this deja vu all over again or what? The “feast or famine” Braves pitching has given up only a commendable 6 runs. The offense, however, has only produced 5 runs with 3 of these coming off the long-ball. The Phillies, on the other hand and despite playing in the “Bandbox”, do not have one dinger yet. What they do have is 14 runs produced by 20 singles and 4 doubles. Go figure

Papil.. you quoted Joe Simpson. That’s all I have to say.
Closer by committee… so you have 2 or 3 big lefties possibly coming up in the ninth.. you use Kimbrel instead of Venters? Yeah that makes a lot of sense.

Congrats Pherris, your Phils have the same record as the Orioles. Let’s hope that continues the entire season.

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