After two pain-free bullpen sessions, Jair Jurrjens could throw the first start of his minor league rehabilitation as early as next week, if all continues to go well.
Jurrjens threw 45 pitches in a bullpen Monday, mixing in all his pitches, and said he’s able to pitch without pain in his left hamstring.
“I don’t feel anything,” Jurrjens said. “I feel normal. I’m just trying to get my conditioning up and get my location back on my pitches.”
Jurrjens has been on the disabled list since April 30 with a strained hamstring, which he re-injured running in the outfield in Milwaukee three weeks ago.
He threw his first two bullpen sessions Saturday and Monday and will continue building up arm strength by throwing every other day, working up to a round of live batting practice on the Braves’ upcoming road trip. If all goes as expected, Jurrjens said he’ll leave the team from Arizona next week for a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
Braves manager Bobby Cox said Jurrjens will need a minimum of two outings in the minor leagues before he’s ready to pitch again, so he’s still a possibly to return to the mound in late June.
“It’ll be like making a major trade,” Cox said.
Jurrjens hasn’t run harder than about 50 percent – sprinting is what he was doing in Milwaukee when he re-injured it – but he said his focus is more on his arm than testing his hamstring to its limits.
“I’m not worried about sprinting right now, just worried about being on the mound pitching without pain,” Jurrjens said. “I don’t care if I can cover first or anything. If I can throw strikes and pitch without pain, it’ll be good.”