Progress for Hanson & Jurrjens, but time’s an enemy

MIAMI – Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens took steps Monday toward returning to the Braves’ rotation, but time remains their biggest obstacle.

The Braves indicate a decent chance that Hanson (shoulder) could return in time to make a regular-season start and be a rotation candidate for the division series, provided they hold on to win the wild card and make the postseason. Jurrjens (knee) probably wouldn’t be an option unless the Braves advanced beyond the first round of the postseason.

Hanson threw two simulated innings in the team’s Instructional League at Orlando, after throwing three bullpen sessions last week in Atlanta.

“Tommy threw great today,” Braves manager Fred Gonzalez said. “Third-four pitches, simulated game [conditions], two innings. He’ll throw a side Wednesday and start Friday [in an Instructional League game].”

Gonzalez said Hanson would pitch three or four innings or a maximum of 65 pitches in the planned start Friday. Barring any setbacks, he could be on schedule to start the last regular-season game of the season Sept. 28 against Philadelphia.

However – and here’s where time is again an enemy – the Braves would not start Hanson in that game if a playoff berth were on the line. That would be Tim Hudson’s normal day to pitch, and the Braves wouldn’t skip Hudson if that last game is a must-win to get into the playoffs.

“There’s so much up in the air,” said Gonzalez, whose Braves lost 11 of their past 17 games before Monday, reducing their wild-card lead to 3-1/2 games over the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals.

Jurrjens threw about 40 pitches in a bullpen session Monday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium before the Braves’ series opener against Florida. It was the first time he threw off the mound since being fitted for a brace on his troublesome right knee. He said the brace wasn’t overly restrictive.

“Just little things I’ve got to get used to,” he said. “I felt good. I threw for almost 40 pitches and felt discomfort on, like, three pitches. Not pain. Just a feeling.”

Asked if he was any more confident about possibly returning, at least if the Braves advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs, Jurrjens said there were still steps to take.

“This is really a leap in a good way,” he said. “Now just see how it’s going to react tomorrow and go from there. It felt good. I’m happy with my pushing off [the mound].”

Gonzalez has said he would not start Hanson or Jurrjens in the postseason without their first making a regular-season start to prove readiness.

Hanson is 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break, after going 10-4 with a 2.77 ERA before the break. Jurrjens is 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA in seven starts since the break, after going 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA before the break and making the All-Star team.

Hanson’s last start was Aug. 6 against the Mets, when he gave up seven runs and a career-high four homers in 3-1/3 innings. After that he was diagnosed with rotator-cuff tendinitis for the second time in as many months. He got a cortisone shot – also his second in as many months – and still had pain when he tried to return.

A more advanced MRI revealed a small undersurface rotator-cuff tear, which Dr. James Andrews described as a normal-wear type of injury that should not require surgery.

Jurrjens’ last start was Aug. 30 against Washington, when he gave up six runs and three homers in six innings. He was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right knee, the same knee that he injured late last season, causing him to miss the postseason. Jurrjens had arthroscopic surgery in October to repair a meniscus tear in the knee.

Gonzalez watched Jurrjens’ bullpen session Monday.

“He threw the ball well,” he said. “So he’ll throw another side Wednesday, and we’ll see where he goes from there.”

Jurrjens’ Wednesday bullpen session with be a little longer and more intense, Gonzalez said. The Braves haven’t said what his next step would be, but it could be a batting-practice session against some Braves hitters.

17 comments Add your comment

Blog comments are retarded

September 19th, 2011
7:42 pm

Gotta have one of these two at their best to win a post season series.

ray

September 19th, 2011
7:55 pm

Lowe pitches every 5th day regardless of how badly he’s been. why do Jurgens and Hanson need to start once before the playoffs ? they may be needed if Lowe further strains the bullpen with his lack of quality starts. I’ll take my chances with them over Lowe at this point.
can’t keep giving away wins in 1st few innings at this point. Cards beating Halladay tonight.

South Georgia Boy

September 19th, 2011
8:00 pm

Braves are making Nolasco look like Nolan Ryan. Hitters look absolutely dead and lifeless.

time to panic?

September 19th, 2011
8:00 pm

[...] David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes word that Hanson threw two simulated innings earlier today at the team’s instructional league in [...]

heyward stikes out yet agin

September 19th, 2011
10:09 pm

who cares about hanson hes as useless as i am lol

Rowsdower

September 20th, 2011
1:46 am

Gotta get to the postseason before you concern yourself with whose going to play…

Rufus

September 20th, 2011
7:33 am

Thank you Rowsdower – right now I don’t see them making it. Remember all that talk early in the month about resting regulars to get set up for the playoffs? I do too and thought it was premature. Can’t see them doing much even if they make the playoffs.

Looking like 70's and 80's

September 20th, 2011
8:09 am

For a while now, this team is looking like it does not know how to win, which is very similar to the teams of the 70’s and 80’s. They can’t hit, can’t pitch, and really look mediocre all over the field. When you can’t hit, play small ball. The combo of Constanza and Bourn seemed to spark the team with their abilities to bunt and run, but the determination to make Heyward a superstar at any cost, broke up the momentum Constanza and Bourn had going.

Starting to look like the teams of the 70’s and 80’s……..day after day after day.

nlen

September 20th, 2011
8:42 am

What about Medlin?

Don

September 20th, 2011
8:50 am

The Braves could have been set for years to come to have the main element to be comptitive – great pitching – with 3 young potential stars for years to come – JJ, Hanson, and Medlin. Now all three are injured – and, who knows, may never return to really be effective. But this is JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG – Ever since McDowell has been the pitching coach – what has it been TWO OR THREE of the starters down with injuries every year – One year, wasn’t it FOUR out of the FIVE. And this says nothing of the injured relief pitchers. This has not been one or two pitchers or one or two years – it has been EVERY YEAR – YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR. It is not possible for the Braves to sign, trade for, or develop pitching fast enough to have McDowell as pitcing coach. It is absolutely amazing that he was not let go years ago. Be it the fault of his conditioning program or the way he handles pitchers or just bad luck – it is long past time for a change. There was nothing close to this under Leo. THE BRAVES CHANCES TO BE COMPTETIVE FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS MAY HAVE ALREAY BEEN RUINED WITH JJ, HANSON, AND MEDLIN INJURED.

Kharma

September 20th, 2011
8:54 am

I wouldn’t be surprised if they are shooting Hanson up with cortisone. Doctors know or should know that cortisone only masks the problem. Hanson and the rest of the Braves have to learn how to train and pitch properly. Easy to do.

GermanBravesFan

September 20th, 2011
9:43 am

Great… Don found a new target, now that Bobby Cox is gone…

nlen

September 20th, 2011
10:17 am

DOB: What about Medlins’ return b4 the Playoffs????

David O'Brien

September 20th, 2011
10:30 am

DOB: What about Medlins’ return b4 the Playoffs????

There’s a separate story up that has the only new details about that. He’ll throw an inning Wednesday in instructional league. Braves hope he’s ready to pitch next week vs. Phillies.

steve

September 20th, 2011
5:29 pm

Sorry but F.G. has mishandled our relieve pitchers to the point that they are out of gas, Kimbrell should not be used other then closing games, we were down one 2 days ago and he brings him in and he gives up a HR ; why put him in then when he has thrown so many innings, would have been fresher last night had he not wasted him the day before, we lost several games this year because of the 2 Scotts ( Proctor and Linebrink) better options were available in the minor leagues, bet Freddy wishes he had some of those games back. It is time for this team to come together and start winning or you are going to go down in history as one of the all time chokers , would not want that to be mentioned each season as it is for Philadelphia .

man and dog

September 21st, 2011
4:59 am

I agree with Don a little bit, although I think the Braves problem lies in their approch to hitting (can Larry Parrish). The do not think smart, be smart, or are smart at the plate and have been this all year. Against the Mets the other night with the score tied, the bases loaded, Borne on third, one out, and Mac at the plate. If he lays down a bunt, Borne walks in and the Braves win (funny that they did just that the following night to score a run). But NOOOOOOOO! McCann whiffs and we go into extra innings and lose.

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