PHOENIX — Jair Jurrjens impressed onlookers Monday when he threw in batting practice for the second time in four days, moving closer to his return from a hamstring injury that’s sidelined him since April 30.
He threw about 50 pitches against Braves hitters on the field at Bank One Ballpark and reported no discomfort in his right hamstring. Manager Bobby Cox and pitching coach Roger McDowell observed.
“Really good,” Cox said of Jurrjens’ work. “He’s fine.”
The plan is for the right-hander to throw a simulated game Friday in Minnesota before the Braves’ series opener against the Twins, then begin a minor league rehab assignment after four days’ rest.
Cox said Jurrjens would need at least two minor league rehab starts, and the Braves hope to have him in their rotation in late June.
It would mean “a lot” to get him back, Cox said. “He was an ace. We haven’t had him all year, really.”
Jurrjens, who was 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA in 2009, has been plagued by injuries since the beginning of spring training. He had an inflamed shoulder that delayed his first spring start by two weeks, then a jammed finger and the pulled hamstring, which he reinjured while testing it with sprints in Milwaukee 3-1/2 weeks ago.
He’s 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA in five starts, including a career-worst start at San Diego, when he gave up eight runs in 3-1/3 innings to send his ERA soaring.