With pitcher Jair Jurrjens still hampered by a sore knee and the Braves fighting for a playoff spot, veterans Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe will move up a day to pitch on short rest Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hudson will start Tuesday and Lowe on Wednesday in the last two games of a three-game series against the Florida Marlins at Turner Field, with Jurrjens hoping to return for Friday’s series opener against Philadelphia.
Jurrjens, diagnosed last week with a slight meniscus tear in his right knee, will miss his third consecutive start. He was examined again Monday and given a “dose pack” of anti-inflammatory pills.
The right-hander said if he’s not better in a couple more days, he might have another MRI to see if there’s a damaged tendon in addition to the meniscus tear.
“It’s really frustrating, especially now, with the team trying to accomplish we’ve been working for since spring training,” said Jurrjens, who has been slowed much of the season by a series of injuries. “It’s just making it more difficult, and it’s asking a lot from the other guys.
“This really isn’t the time for you to miss much time. Hopefully the guys can pick me up and give me a chance to pitch again this season.”
Jurrjens won 27 games during the 2008-2009 seasons for the Braves, and last season his 2.60 ERA was the third-lowest among National League starters.
He’s 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 20 starts this season, 12 fewer than Hudson, Lowe or Tommy Hanson (who was scheduled to make his 33rd start Monday).
Jurrjens strained his pitching shoulder a week before reporting for spring training, and has rarely been fully healthy since. He spent much of the first half of the season the disabled list for a twice-injured hamstring.
Jurrjens was 4-1 with a 4.41 ERA in his last eight starts before the knee injury, which occurred during a between-starts bullpen session on Sept. 17 in New York.
He had a cortisone shot Sept. 18 and said there was some improvement, but not enough to make his scheduled starts Sept. 20 at Philadelphia or Sunday at Washington.
Rookie Brandon Beachy replaced him in those two games, the first major league games for the Beachy. The Braves lost each game, though Beachy impressed while allowing nine hits and five runs (three earned) in 9-1/3 combined innings.
Hudson’s September slide
The Braves are hoping short rest might help Hudson snap out of a recent funk. He is 1-4 with a 6.10 ERA in five starts, after going 6-0 with a 1.43 ERA in his previous eight starts.
After pitching Tuesday on short rest, Hudson would be available to pitch on regular rest in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Phillies, manager Bobby Cox said.
Hudson has slumped in September, going 1-4 with a 6.10 ERA in five starts. He had been 6-0 with a 1.43 ERA in his previous eight starts.
In three career regular-season starts on short (three days) rest, Hudson is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA. He’s also 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA in three postseason starts on short rest.
“Huddy pitched on three days in the playoffs and pitched a gem,” Cox said.
The reference was to Hudson’s 2005 division-series start for the Braves against Houston, when he allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings of an epic, 18-inning loss in Game 4.
The Braves haven’t played a postseason game since.
Lowe is 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA in four career regular-season starts on short rest.