LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Braves are holding open a roster spot for starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens for the time being, but want to be more certain of his health before they include him on the finalized opening-day roster.
Three days after leaving a start with a sore right side, Jurrjens felt good when he tested it Sunday playing catch. He plans a more rigorous test with a bullpen session Monday.
“We did some light catch today just to see how it would respond,” Jurrjens said. “It responded good. We did all the tests we needed to do to try to figure out how severe it is, and I passed all of them. Just waiting to see what they want me to do.”
General manager Frank Wren said Jurrjens would have to pitch in a competitive game of some kind – not a simulated game — to satisfy team officials before he pitches in a major league game.
The tentative plan is for him to pitch in a minor-league spring training game Friday, which would put him on schedule to start Game 6 on April 6 at Milwaukee.
No. 5 starter Brandon Beachy had been scheduled to start April 6, but Beachy could move to Jurrjens’ No. 4 position and start April 4 at Milwaukee. (Opening day starter Derek Lowe will come back to pitch April 5 on regular rest.)
If the Braves don’t think Jurrjens is ready, they would put him on the 15-day disabled list to begin the season and call up another starter, probably rookie Mike Minor from Triple-A. The left-hander lost the fifth-starter battle with Beachy last week.
“More than likely it would be Minor, if that’s the case,” Wren said. “Because he was obviously a finalist. He’s on the roster. We’re talking about probably no more than one start, maybe two at the most, if this thing goes as we expect.
“We’re hoping it’s none [that Jurrjens will not need to go on the DL] and secondarily hoping that it’s no more than one [start missed].”
If Jurrjens is placed on the DL, it would be backdated to March 25, the day after his last Grapefruit League start, and he’d be eligible to come back and pitch against Philadelphia on April 9 in the Braves’ second home game.