Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — After completing another flat-ground throwing session without shoulder pain, pitcher Jair Jurrjens was pining to get on the mound.
Braves manager Bobby Cox thinks it’s time to let him. He said that Jurrjens could throw his first bullpen session Monday, provided his shoulder feels good on Sunday.
Jurrjens, who was 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA last season, has been sidelined by shoulder inflammation during the opening week of spring training. He was hurt making an awkward throw in a loosely organized game in his native Curacao two weeks ago.
“The last two (sessions) have been great,” said Jurrjens, who threw from distances of 60, 90 and 120 feet during a 20-minute session in the outfield Saturday, while the Braves worked out in covered batting cages on a chilly, damp afternoon at Champion Stadium.
“I’m just waiting to find out what they think. I’m ready to get on the mound. I feel great. I threw some changeups, sliders, didn’t feel anything.”
During a similar but shorter throwing session Friday, Jurrjens said he had only minimal discomfort, which he rated as a “0.5″ on a scale of 1 to 10 – “really minimal,” he said.
On Saturday he felt even better. “Zero point 1,” he said, smiling. “I want to get to 0.0.”
If he feels fine on his recovery day Sunday, Cox said he could throw his first bullpen session Monday.
“Hopefully he can take a day off and go to the mound,” said Cox, who intended to meet again with pitching coach Roger McDowell to finalize the plan for getting Jurrjens back into the flow of things.
Three or four bullpen sessions could be enough to get him ready to pitch two innings in his first spring-training game start by the second week of March, Cox said.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We won’t push it. There’s no need to.”
The Braves open the Grapefruit League schedule Tuesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Cox had said he would announce the pitching plans during the weekend, but the Jurrjens situation caused him to postpone that announcement until Monday.
Cox said there’s plenty of time for Jurrjens to be ready when the season begins April 5.