Jurrjens seems likely for Opening Day start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Based on the Braves’ pitching plans for the first week of the spring-training schedule, Jair Jurrjens appears targeted for an Opening Day start April 5 against the Mets at New York.

Jurrjens says the brace he's wearing on his right knee has helped restore his confidence and isn't at all cumbersome. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Jurrjens says the brace he's wearing on his right knee has helped restore his confidence and isn't at all cumbersome. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

The Braves haven’t named their Opening Day starter, but it was assumed entering spring that Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson would do the honors in place of Tim Hudson, who’s recovering from back surgery and will miss all or most of April.

That was before Hanson sustained a Grade 1 concussion in a car wreck while driving to the first workout of spring training. He wasn’t cleared to resume throwing for six days and didn’t get back on the mound until Wednesday.

Jurrjens will start Monday against Houston in the Braves’ third Grapefruit League game. If he pitches every five days, the 2011 All-Star would make six Grapefruit League starts and be in line for Opening Day.

Jurrjens would be on either four days or five days’ rest for Opening Day, depending whether the Braves push back the rotation on the team’s only off day this spring (March 26).

Hanson would be in line to start the second game of the regular season April 7, followed by Brandon Beachy in Game 3, Mike Minor in Game 4 (April 9 series opener at Houston) and Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in Game 5.

That’s assuming Minor wins the fifth-starter job and either Teheran or Delgado is the replacement for Hudson.

Kris Medlen is scheduled to start Tuesday against Washington in the fourth game of the Grapefruit League season. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Hanson might be ready to plug into that spot the second time through the rotation.

Medlen is penciled in for a bullpen role to begin the 2012 season, but the Braves plan to get him stretched out this spring just in case he’s needed as starter in the early season.

Hanson took the ImPact concussion test for the third time Thursday and could be cleared to throw batting practice as soon as Friday.

64 comments Add your comment

JC Brave

March 1st, 2012
5:21 pm

Vinny

March 1st, 2012
5:22 pm

Vinny

March 1st, 2012
5:22 pm

Felix

March 1st, 2012
5:48 pm

Well what do you know? I opened up the ‘David O’Brien Daily Injury Report’ and ………there is no new injury!

Stinger2

March 1st, 2012
6:01 pm

Nice job JC Brave and Vinny. I am sure your mommies are proud of you.

Stinger2

March 1st, 2012
6:04 pm

DOB: Great job keeping us informed this spring. Question:
Do you get March 26 off with the Braves? I vote yes.

stew

March 1st, 2012
6:09 pm

Beachy should be the first game starter.

Stan

March 1st, 2012
6:31 pm

Stew is right. Beachy is far better than JJ.

Earl

March 1st, 2012
6:41 pm

I say don’t start Beachy in the opener. He will be the staff ace by seaons end. No need to put any additional pressure on him by pitching the opener. Just let him start at 3 and do his thing. Gooooo Braves.

Brownie

March 1st, 2012
6:59 pm

Could be an interesting sidenote that the Braves opening game starter will likely be traded by the deadline this year. I would fully expect Huddy to come back strong, and Hanson’s new delivery will be fun to watch develop. Then you’ll have Beachy and Minor improved, and one of the young guys will pitch so well that FG will have to bring him up. Barring serious injury (and even that might not make a difference with one or both of the 2 youngens and Medlin ready to go), JJ will be the odd man out, especially considering his agent is Scott Boros, he could be traded and help the Bravos bring in that much-needed bat from a losing team.

Felix

March 1st, 2012
7:36 pm

Dave: Still no new injuries?

Ryan

March 1st, 2012
9:11 pm

JJ on Opening Day makes sense…that increases his appeared value to the Braves and extends his trade value.

Possible GM: I don’t want to give up that much for Jurrjens, he’s a quality arm for us to obtain down the stretch, but he’s not a top tier starter.

Frank Wren: We are 2nd in the league in team ERA, one of the top 5 teams in baseball, and JJ is our opening day starter and ace! If you don’t need him enough to give up PROSPECT A, then we will just do business with teams X, Y, and Z who are calling about him.

Beachy in the 3 hole works! It will allow him to develop more instead of lining him up vs. Holliday, Lee, Johnson, Carpenter, etc.

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

March 1st, 2012
9:29 pm

Note 2 Hansen. Dont show up to sprig traingin drunk and wreck UR car. U could be openin day strater had U not been drivng dunk.

jojo

March 1st, 2012
10:12 pm

GO BRAVES GO BRAVES GO BRAVES

NOTTTTING EASSSYY

March 1st, 2012
10:43 pm

Ultimate disrespect towards Medlen. What more does he need to do to prove he can be a starter. We have Chrstian Martinez for long relief. Also what is wrong with having two 5th starters, with the second one piggybacking after the 5 or 6th inning. this would be especially helpful in limiting O’ventenbrels innings over the course of the year.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

March 1st, 2012
10:53 pm

yep, medlen rocks. what more can he do??

jon a

March 1st, 2012
11:03 pm

SO EXCITED! … i really hope medlen can win that 5th spot, so we can have julio and randall get just a little more work in the minors, you forget medlen was arguably one of our best pitchers before he had tommy john

Obee

March 1st, 2012
11:12 pm

My prediction is that Medlen will be in the rotation, sooner rather than later.

Larry

March 1st, 2012
11:22 pm

Why on earth would we open with an automatic “L” from one of the worst pitchers in baseball the 2nd half of last season? Those 88-89 MPH fastballs will get hammered all over the field.

Until Huddy returns, go with Beachy, Minor, Delgado, Teheran and pick ‘em for #5–Jurrjens or Hanson.

Ask any GM in baseball who of the Braves starters would they most like to have? Beachy, Minor, Delgado or Teheran over Hanson and Jurrjens in a heartbeat!

Larry

March 1st, 2012
11:23 pm

Never mind…Medlin at #5

Heisenberg

March 1st, 2012
11:26 pm

Opening day is good for JJ or Tommy Boy. But it would be even better if they pitched in September-October.

& note to LMLR: I have heard nothing about booze being involved in the accident. It was a blown tire. Get a clue. Are you Rush Limbaugh throwing out outrageous accusations to pander to your base and boost ratings? Unless you have the police report with BAC tests, your existence on this planet is a waste of human sperm. I am sorry your life is so pathetic you have to stoop to this level.

David O'Brien

March 1st, 2012
11:27 pm

Stinger2: Thanks. I’ll get a few days off next week and then a few more two weeks later, so I’m fine.

NOTTTTING EASSSYY

March 2nd, 2012
12:04 am

DOB: Can you explain any drawbacks to carrying Medlin as the piggyback 5th starter or why a manager would be opposed to this type of strategy. Is this a case of baseball traditional thinking clouding the eyes of a GM/manager that has the luxury of using such a technique.

Kevlar

March 2nd, 2012
12:55 am

Hey Dave, just saw Varitek’s retirement speech. Pretty emotional. I took a public speaking class with Jason at Tech. Will miss following him. Thought about Chipper and that he has been with teh Braves like 10 years longer than any other current player. The Braves should put a “C” on his chest and make him captain this year. He’s due it and it would likely mean the world to him. Who else has been “captain” of the Braves and what do you think of this idea?

Steve

March 2nd, 2012
12:59 am

Larry, those 88-89 mph fastballs had him headed into the All-Star game last year as THE best pitcher in the National League. Once he got hurt he started missing with location and left a bunch of stuff up which is deadly to a ‘pitch to contact’ guy.

By the way, Jurrgens ran it up to 94 plenty of times last year when he needed a clutch out. The fact he knows how to pitch and doesn’t need to flame it up there every pitch just shows why the Braves are the best in the majors at developing pitching. Look at all their young pitchers. They all mix up speeds and ‘pitch’ instead of ‘throw’.

As for Medlen I agree with most of you on here. I could care less about prospect ratings. Medlen’s AAA stats were better than any of those stud prospects and he has proven his mettle in the bigs. he’s got a tight breaking pitch, good control, and a Greg Maddux/Orel Hershiser tenacity that is fun as heck to watch. I wish the Braves would figure this out.

Steve

March 2nd, 2012
1:00 am

And yes, I understand Medlen has proven himself in the long relief role, but as I said before, plenty of great starters could have proven themselves in long relief .. but smart teams don’t waste them there.

ohhhYEAH

March 2nd, 2012
1:52 am

Agree Steve, Medlen was one of our best pitchers before he went down in 2010. He is being disrespected and completely disregarded for even a chance to compete for a starting spot. Theyre basically saying “Well, we like what youve done in the pen, and we will even let you start some in spring training, but even if you dont allow a single run, one of the young guys will still be our number 5.” Man he’s gotta feel like he is being slapped in the face. He all but won that starting job in ‘10, and he goes down with an injury, the management seems to forget how good he was. Pullin for ya Meds, Show them you don’t belong stuffed away in right-center field with Eddie Perez every day

southern bell

March 2nd, 2012
2:11 am

I agree with all of y’all that say Medlen should be our #5 starter. Send the prospect studs back to Gwinnett and let them develop and become more consistent.

S'paw_99

March 2nd, 2012
2:19 am

Kevlar, I agree 100% with your idea. Why not make Chipper the Captain for this yr & potentially the next until he hangs it up. I think it would mean a lot to him, and he has certainly earned the right.

Dave, have the Braves ever had any Captains?

CajunStorm

March 2nd, 2012
2:25 am

Thank the Lawd….we have intelligent bloggers here. Few, but some. For all you knucklheads that don’t know much, please pull up Jair’s stats when be was healthy. Flat out DOMINATING! The young man had about 18 months of subpar health. It happens. But his mechanics are probably the best on the staff and he IS a #1 or 2 starter for someone (hopefully the Braveauxs) for the next DECADE. If I was Ol Frank I’d trade Hanson & his horrible mechanics to Baltimore for Adam Jones & a top tier prospect. Actually Minor & Prado would get that deal done too.

Bottomline, Delgado & Tehran are the immediate future….and cheap labor, we ALL love Prado but we need an upgrade, JJ should stay, pretty boy Tommy should go and by all means…YES, Medlen deserves a shot as a starter! Can’t replace or duplicate heart & that kid has that PLUS talent.

Dang, forgot about Vizcaino….we are just flat out LOADED at pitcher!

Brent

March 2nd, 2012
6:57 am

Seems like one guy with multiple screen names might have a crush on Medlen. Guy(s), he’s coming off Tommy John surgery. These days many pitchers do great, but heck, let the Braves see where he is. If he needs to ease into it, let him. If he earns a spot in the rotation, I expect he will be there. The fact he was killing it before he got hurt is no given, and those studs may have caught up with him and passed him while he was gone. We’ll see. Hope the best for him, because he’s a tough little gamer.

Disgusted

March 2nd, 2012
7:59 am

All JJ does is win 13 games a season with a decent mid 3’s ERA. That is fine for a middle of the rotation starter, only issues with JJ the last 2 yrs has been not staying healthy.

I am glad we did not trade him because the return would not have been so good. JJ’s sabermetric numbers do not fare so good, so other GM’s would low ball them to a couple of mediocre prospects or two. So we are better off keeping JJ till its time for him to get paid.

And when he is not healthy, at least there is pitching depth in the organization. And no, do not overlook Medelen, he will be an asssett at some point in the season.

Disgusted

March 2nd, 2012
8:03 am

If we subsequently lose JJ as a FA, I might rather have the draft picks comming back than have a deal like Texiera for Kotchman and Marek.

The Braves would have been better off with the picks and take the chances there than that sack of rubbish they got for Texiera. The second Tex deal bothered me more than the first one.

reckingball

March 2nd, 2012
8:55 am

No Texiera deal, at all, for the Braves, would have been the best thing to “not happen”.

MikeY

March 2nd, 2012
9:11 am

We have so much pitching: Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson, Beachy, Minor, Delgado, Moylan, Medlen, Martinez, Kimbrell, Venters, O’Flaherty, Teheran, Varvaro, Russell, Fish, Vizcaino all seem to warrant a spot on the roster. Admittedly, Hudson and Moylan will open the season on the DL, but we still have 15 guys for 12 or 13 slots. And Asencio is out of options, he may be deserving as well…

We may have the best AAA pitching staff EVER. As well as one of the best in the majors.

I am hoping for a trade for a RH bat. GO BRAVES!

1eyedJack

March 2nd, 2012
9:25 am

Let’s be thankful that instead of worrying about where we can find 5 guys who CAN start that we’re arguing about which 5 WILL start.

reckingball

March 2nd, 2012
9:29 am

Right Arm! 1eyedJack. Excuse me, I meant Right On.

USMC DAWG

March 2nd, 2012
9:38 am

1 week into ST, and we already have the rotation being juggled due to injuries. How bad is it going to be in July?

Larry

March 2nd, 2012
9:46 am

CajunStorm, Steve, et al..

I happen to actually know a thing or two about pitching…devoted many years at it before realizing I didn’t have MLB quality off-speed stuff to go with a pretty good hard ball.

I’ve watched JJ and Hanson closely the past 2-3 years. I was in the park for Hanson’s first game where he was in complete control the first 5-6 innings until Cox allowed him to meltdown and lose it. The guy was consistently hitting between 94-96 mph with a couple topping out at 97.

When a prospect drops 4-5 mph of his fastball in just 3 seasons and now must alter his delivery to stay healthy this is more than a red flag. As for JJ, he’s all smoke and mirrors in the first half and the hitters will see through this in the second half…just look at his records after the all star break. Both are readable and hittable pitchers after the first time through a batting order.

You guys have your opinions; I have mine. So, let’s stay in touch when JJ and Hanson both begin to fade to the back of the rotation–or out of it entirely–as the year progresses.

Worse news…the Braves will be fighting for 3rd place with the Marlins as both the Phillies and Nationals (and Marlins) have a superior manager than the Braves’ Fruiti Gonzalez. It is also my prediction that Fruiti’s job will be in jeopardy by the all star break when the Braves, because of his in-game buffoonery–will be performing well below expectations.

Beachy, not Hanson, is our next John Smoltz, Minor is our next Steve Avery, and Delgado will be our #2 or #3 starter…if…Fruiti isn’t too dumb to see it. After all, he did bat the free swinging, complete guess hitters Gonzalez, Uggla and Heyward at leadoff, neutered the speedy, disruptive combo of Bourne and Constanza, and pitch Lowe in a must win game late last September.

Whew…just amazingly dumb!

CajunStorm

March 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

Ummm, I’m confused. Why are we not speaking of “losing” Pretty Boy Tommy to free agency? His agent – BORAS! I always only hear that “we gotta move JJ before we lose him to FA.” JJ has WAAAY more charisma, much more fan friendly, has better mechanics, IS the better pitcher, and DOES NOT have that HORRENDOUS Cali-do on top of his head!

After Huddy’s contract is up I’d love to see a rotation of Tehran, Delgado, JJ, Vizcaino, and Medlen.

Minor, Beachy, AND Pretty Boy Tommy will have been traded in some combination for a Stud OF (Adam Jones), and a Stud AS (Hanley Ramirez when he decides it should’ve been him on the cover of SI instead of Reyes & his best yrs were with Fredi). Hey it could happen. Chamionship teams do these kinda of things. You play your youngsters or you trade them for players! You don’t field the best AAA team in the history of the sport. Just saying.

Larry

March 2nd, 2012
9:58 am

CajunStorm,

If you can’t see the talent and greatness in Beachy I’d suggest you change your blog name to “Goober.”

Ask Tom Glavine (I have) who he sees as having the highest ceiling among the Braves bevy of starting talent? Here’s a hint…his initials are “BB.”

CajunStorm

March 2nd, 2012
9:59 am

Larry. I respect your experience and expertise. Hope to hear more insight throughout the year. I’m not completely a JJ fan. I just know he is close to Ace or #2 status when healthy. Haven’t seen that in 2 seasons but I think hr has potential. In his 1st 2 yrs he was pretty good and healthy. Let’s not forget he was 22 and 23 then.. Anyway, I think FW HAS to make a power move soon. When you have a table full of chips you play your hand strong and you may even STEAL a few hands like we did with Bourn.

CajunStorm

March 2nd, 2012
10:04 am

Dang Larry….why you had to go all “goober” on me? Geez. I’ll show restraint in the bloggers battlefield. Anyway, I Never said I didn’t like Beachy. I included him in my trade scenarios with Pretty Boy Tommy because I think they can give us near All Star bats in return.

That being said….that goober comment? I can take a punch & laugh it off….once.

Larry

March 2nd, 2012
10:12 am

CajunStorm,

I apologize.

You have an opinion and I should respect this without resorting to derogatory names. You don’t know me well enough to know that my silly names like “Goober” or “Friuti” are more intended as satirical, harmless jabbing than to actually hurt or disrespect someone…I do the same with my family and friends and they have a few names for me too!

I respect and appreciate your restraint and look forward to some fun, but harmless, jabbing over opinions and predictions.

Larry

[...] Source: ajc.com [...]

CajunStorm

March 2nd, 2012
11:07 am

Cool Larry, b4 ppl start talking about us for being apologetic & all I’d like to hear your thoughts on what the Braveauxs need to do knowing that JJ & Pretty Boy Tommy will be outta team control soon and Huddy & Chipper will be FA’s soon. Any moves we make will surround our pitchers and maybe Prado sooooo….what do we do to go for the WS now but still be set up for future runs.

Larry

March 2nd, 2012
11:26 am

Unfortunately, neither JJ or TH have much trade value now unless there’s an “Al Davis” as an MLB owner somewhere. Even old Al was infatuated with speed so neither the pedestrian fastballs of JJ or TH would appeal to him.

They are left with little choice but to hope they are completely recovered and pitch as well as they’re capable as possible trade bait at the deadline..

The Braves have a 9 mil club option on Hudson for next year so, at 36, if he has a good season expect them to exercise this. As for Chipper, unlike what appears to be the majority on here, I would like for the Braves to seriously look for his successor this off-season (assuming he doesn’t get 123 at bats) as I believe his lack of dependability as a starter hurts our continuity. We really need to move on to the next era.

Keep your eye on Beachy…the guy is already our best strike out pitcher. And when he learns how to get past the 5th or 6rh inning….he’s our ace!

Baseball

March 2nd, 2012
11:27 am

With Pujols and Fielder now in the AL. Freeman and Votto are locks for the NL All-Star team. Locks!!!

Larry

March 2nd, 2012
11:37 am

Careful, Baseball…people were saying Heyward was a “lock” too last season.

I am more optimistic about Freeman’s chances in his sophomore year because he has much better fundamentals than Heyward, but let’s see him do it first.

2011champs

March 2nd, 2012
12:39 pm

Hey, now we are taalking baseball. Votto is a lock, but not Freeman. He is a good young player, but so was Heyward the year before. If Howard gets back sooner rather than later, he will be there, and do not count last year’s all star Lance Berkman out.
I also recently have read some statemants from one Mr. Chipper Jones, regarding last season. Chipper needs to keep his mouth shut about orther teams, and just try to stay on the field. He tells Ranger players that they can easily handle St. Louis. How does he know, since the Braves have not won a season series from St. Louis since the ‘08 season. Had they won just 2 more from them last season, it would have been the Braves losing in the first round, instead of the Redbirds winning the Series.
3rd place for another underachieving Braves team seems about right, and 3rd will not get to the playoffs in this division.

Disgusted

March 2nd, 2012
1:17 pm

“I am hoping for a trade for a RH bat. GO BRAVES!”

For a sensible deal that is LM budget friendly and a guy who the team has control for a while, of course.

I do not want just any RH bat that is here for only a year, year and a half. Not for a couple of kids like we have.

therut

March 2nd, 2012
1:17 pm

If we could possibly get the Braves to fire Freddy G. in spring training, would that be a first?

reckingball

March 2nd, 2012
1:26 pm

2011champs……you can always try some Cardinal blogs, if you want see some nice things about your team.

Mark's for the Braves

March 2nd, 2012
1:30 pm

Time for JJ to put two halves together and have a complete season (to make up for a miserable second half in 2011). Here’s to hoping he will!

2011champs

March 2nd, 2012
2:52 pm

Let me start by saying that I think that the Cardinals, even without Albert, will win more games than the Braves this season, and make the playoffs again. Former Brave, Adam Wainwright will be in the running for the Cy Young, and Molina will win yet another gold glove. McCann is good but, over 100 successful steals against him in 2011, while only 65 even tried against Molina. Molina also had more starts, higher BA, and scored more runs than any other NL catcher.

Rufino Linares

March 2nd, 2012
2:59 pm

How about the Cardinal fan winning the “out of left field comment” award? And your math is wrong…only 1 more win over the Cardinals and you are on the sidelines last fall.

Hang in there, pal. I remember when I was in middle school and I said stupid stuff, too.

thomas

March 2nd, 2012
3:00 pm

I sure wish our starters can go more than 6 innings, but if they can’t, we have 3 pitchers (Medlen, O’Flerty and Venters) instead of just 2 like we did last year. Martinez and Varvaro looked pretty good as middle relievers. It’s a cliche, but you can never have too many arms.

Disgusted

March 2nd, 2012
3:02 pm

If Molina is worth 5 yrs at 75 mil this day in time, what is it going to take to extend Mc Cann when his time is due?

Under Liberty Media, suffice to say that Mr. Mc Cann will be playing in another uni before long?

Ya can’t fire the owners.

2011champs

March 2nd, 2012
3:24 pm

Less than Molina, that is for sure, and I was trying to give them a break by saying 2.

Braves Fan in N.Y.

March 2nd, 2012
4:58 pm

Medlen will be a beast.
Love the kid’s make-up, tools, and approach.

alanfalcon

March 2nd, 2012
6:24 pm

Wake up (coaching want to be’s), Medlin wil be the savior of the pen when Freddie starts to overwork them as he did last year, need him there badly until Moylan returns.

Mister Frisky

March 2nd, 2012
7:44 pm

JJ to start in opener.Wont last 5.Start warmin up that bullpen now.

AdirondackDave

March 2nd, 2012
11:22 pm

I hope Mac continues to perform at an all-star level and Wren can find a way to extend him. However, if Betancourt continues to develop as his potential suggests, Mac is more than likely to be signing with an American League contender.

Betancourt is expected to bring strong defensive skills as well as a good bat to the big leagues. Might be a Freddie Freeman type behind the plate. Can’t remember if Mac’s contract is up in ‘13 or ‘14 but if Betancourt isn’t quite ready, Ross can hold the fort until he is.

GoBravos124

March 2nd, 2012
11:24 pm

I still have faith in JJ!! He was the best pitcher in the league in the 1st half last season. He looks like he’s slimmed down since last year, maybe he’ll have enough endurance in him this season to last at least 3/4.

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