Odds and ends from Braves camp
Welcome back to Disney where this morning a scout was overheard saying, “I’ve seen enough of (Jair) Jurrjens this year.” No, he was not affiliated with the Braves in any way, shape or form.
But it’s pretty safe to say that every member of the Braves organization would like to spend this afternoon watching Jurrjens look much different than he has in each of his first four exhibition starts. On the way to producing a 10.13 ERA, Jurrjens has battled to find the confidence that his right knee truly is healthy.
While Jurrjens has not experienced any discomfort, scouts have spent this month saying, “he doesn’t look like the same guy to me.” There has been some indication that he has grown more comfortable as this month progressed and started pushing off the rubber with more aggression than he had during his first two exhibition starts.
Last week, I wrote that I was shocked that some fans were suggesting that Jurrjens should not be considered for the Opening Day start. My thinking was that his tenured status and the fact that Tommy Hanson did not need to be rushed made him the only logical candidate.
But if Jurrjens struggles against the less-than-imposing split-squad lineup the Astros have brought to Disney today, I think the Braves have to think about the possibility of asking him to make two more exhibition starts, eliminating his candidacy for an Opening Day start This arrangement would set him up to pitch one of the split-squad games against the Astros on Friday and in a Minor League game on March 30.
If the Braves would choose to go this route, Jurrjens would be ready to make his first regular season start during the April 9-11 series against the Astros in Houston. Don’t get worked up about the possibility of him facing the Astros three times in a span of four starts. Many of the guys in today’s Astros lineup will not be in Houston when the regular season arrives.
Tommy Hanson is scheduled to pitch five innings against a group of Astros Minor Leaguers while his teammates (other than Jack Wilson) will enjoy a scheduled offday on Monday. Hanson will make one more exhibition start on Saturday against the Tigers. He would then be on schedule to make the Opening Day start if the Braves choose to go with somebody other than Jurrjens.
Either way, as long as Hanson does not experience any setbacks, it appears he will pitch during the opening weekend in New York.
Tyler Pastornicky will start at shortstop in a second straight game today. There does not seem to be reason to make much of the decision to give him consecutive starts. It still seems the Braves are debating daily whether to give the starting shortstop job to Pastornicky or allow Andrelton Simmons the opportunity to make the big jump from the Class A-Advanced level to the Majors.
Julio Teheran completed a pain-free 25-pitch side session on Saturday with what he estimated to be 75 percent effort. Because he had experienced some upper arm stiffness after his last outing, the Braves opted to have him complete the side session instead of pitching in a Minor League game. Teheran is currently slated to start one of Friday’s split-squad games against the Astros.