Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – With only one week left in spring training, Jair Jurrjens needed a solid outing against major league hitters. He got it Saturday.
The Braves right-hander pitched five innings and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base during a 4-0 win against the Washington Nationals at Champion Stadium.
“That’s the best I’ve felt the whole spring training,” said Jurrjens, who allowed one hit and two walks with three strikeouts while throwing 40 strikes in 59 pitches. “Everything was working today. I was finally staying over the [pitching] rubber, staying back.”
Jurrjens was slowed the first two weeks of camp by shoulder inflammation and made only two starts against major league teams before Saturday – two scoreless innings of one-hit ball against Pittsburgh, and three innings (five hits, three runs) against Florida.
His most recent start was against Detroit’s Class AAA affiliate on Monday, after a rainout Sunday pushed his turn to the Braves’ only scheduled off day of spring. The Tigers minor leaguers got a couple of runs and five hits in four innings against him.
But Saturday, Jurrjens looked more like the pitcher whose 2.60 ERA ranked third among National League starters in 2009.
“I was feeling good,” said Jurrjens, who didn’t allow a hit until Ryan Zimmerman’s fourth-inning single. “I hope I can keep having these days during the season and help the team get as many wins as possible.”
He said he would work six innings in his last Grapefruit League start Thursday against his old Detroit team. He’ll start the second game of the season against the Chicago Cubs on April 7 at Turner Field, after Derek Lowe pitches the April 5 opener.