Kenshin Kawakami is headed to the bullpen to open a spot for Jair Jurrjens, who is finally fit to pitch again for the Braves.
Manager Bobby Cox announced after Monday night’s game that Jurrjens would start Wednesday’s series finale against the Nationals and that Kawakami would be the odd man out of the rotation.
Kris Medlen, who has pitched better as a starter than Kawakami, will stay in the rotation. Medlen had moved from the bullpen to fill in for Jurrjens initially, but now he’ll remain and Kawakami (1-9) will go to a relief role.
“I’m really excited,” said Jurrjens, who’s been sidelined since April 29 by a pulled left hamstring that he reinjured in mid-May. “It’s like making my major league debut again, I’ve been out such a long time.
“Just coming back, we have a good vibe going on and I hope I can fit in and help the team keep winning.”
Cox has said getting Jurrjens back would be like trading for a top starting pitcher. The right-hander went 14-10 last season with a 2.60 ERA that was the third-lowest among National League starters.
Jurrjens was plagued by a series of injuries this year beginning with an inflamed shoulder that set him back three weeks during spring training.
He was 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA in five starts in April, with eight of his 17 earned runs allowed coming in a 3-1/3-inning outing at San Diego.
He had a 3.91 ERA in his other four starts, and received only 1.5 offensive support runs per nine innings pitched before his injury.