PHILADELPHIA – Jair Jurrjens’ sore knee led the Braves to summon prospect Brandon Beachy to Philadelphia in case he was needed to make his major league debut with an emergency start Monday night against the Phillies.
Jurrjens tweaked his knee in a bullpen session Friday, but didn’t tell Braves officials until Saturday.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said Jurrjens’ condition improved some Sunday and indicated that Beachy would probably not be pressed into duty for the opening game of the highly anticipated series with the Phillies at sold-out Citizens Bank Park.
“It’s just a precaution in case [Jurrjens isn't ready],” Wren said of the having Beachy on hand and ready in Philadelphia. “JJ felt better yesterday. Nothing serious, just a tweak to knee.”
The Braves had not previously mentioned anything about the injury to Jurrjens, and the situation came to light only after a story in Beachy’s hometown newspaper, the Kokomo (Ind.) Tribune.
“It’s exciting,” Beachy told the paper Sunday night after checking into the Braves’ team hotel. “We’re chasing Philadelphia [in the NL East race], we’re in Philadelphia. They have an incredible lineup. I’d love nothing more than to be thrown right into this mix and help contribute.”
Beachy was also told to be ready before Derek Lowe’s Sept. 8 start at Pittsburgh, in case Lowe wasn’t able to pitch after missing one start with a bone chip in his elbow. Lowe was ready and won that game, the first of three consecutive wins for the veteran.
Beachy , a 24-year-old right-hander, climbed from obscurity into the prospect rankings after a breakthrough season in the minors in 2010. He went 5-1 with a minor league-leading 1.75 ERA in 35 games (13 starts), and a eye-opening 148 strikeouts and only 28 walks in 119-1/3 innings.
He spent much of the season at Double-A Mississippi, where he soared after moving from the bullpen to the rotation. He finished at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he was 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA in eight games (seven starts), with 48 strikeouts and eight walks in 45-2/3 innings.
He features a 92-94 mph fastball complemented by a good changeup and curveball.
It’s been a rapid ascent for Beachy, who signed with the Braves as a non-drafted free agent two years ago out of Indiana Wesleyan. He showed no signs of an imminent rise in 2009, when he pitched at three levels in the minors and had a 3.87 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 76-2/3 innings.