Jurrjens’ knee pain-free in first start

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – More than six months had passed since Jair Jurrjens last pitched in a major league game, and so results weren’t the top priority when he faced Houston on Monday. The health of his right knee was.

Jurrjens was charged with two runs, three hits and one walk in two innings of the Braves’ 10-5 win against the Astros at Osceola County Stadium, their first Grapefruit League win after consecutive losses to Detroit over the weekend.

Most importantly for him and the Braves, Jurrjens’ right knee was pain-free.

“The main thing today was just trying to get the feel back pushing off and not feeling any pain,” he said. “I wish I didn’t give up two runs but it’s spring training and I’m trying to work on my pitching, get comfortable with my mechanics and get ready for the season.”

He smiled and said, “You guys know, I suck at spring training anyway. I get hit all the time. I try a lot of stuff in spring training.”

The fact that Jurrjens had his sense of humor was a positive sign for the Braves, who didn’t see much of it after mid-summer. His career-best first half – 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA and All-Star selection — was ruined by a bone bruise in his knee.

Jurrjens didn’t pitch after Aug. 30, the second consecutive September that he missed for right-knee problems.

“That was good for him to come out and get his two innings of work, and just take the rust off a little bit,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday.

Jurrjens wore a knee brace and pitched five innings in an Instructional League game after the season ended, and would have pitched in the Division Series if the Braves hadn’t missed the playoffs. But when he began his offseason rehab and conditioning in December, the knee still ached.

That’s when a doctor discovered a problem with the big toe of his right foot and prescribed custom orthotics for his shoes. The knee pain subsided. He continues to wear the orthotics and knee brace for workouts and games.

Jurrjens topped out at 90 mph with one fastball, another encouraging sign. He pitched some entire games in 2011 without a 90-mph reading.

He said he just wished he’d thrown more fastballs Monday the way he’d planned.

“I had a plan going in to just find my spots, find my release on my fastball, on my four-seam and my two-seam,” he said. “I think I just got away from the plan [with the emotion of] being in the game and getting the feeling of all my pitching right away. I felt good and just sometimes I tried to do too much … and left some balls up.

“If you look at the whole picture, I made some quality pitches and got some soft fly balls. I still need to work on the strikeout pitches. I get up ahead too quick and cannot finish him off. Just go back to the bullpen and work on some stuff, things me and Roger [McDowell, pitching coach] are experimenting with on the mound.”

With Tim Hudson recovering from back surgery and expected to miss April, Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson were leading candidates to start Opening Day. After Hanson missed the first week of spring training with a concussion, Jurrjens is likely to start the opener.

25 comments Add your comment

Prado4President

March 5th, 2012
5:47 pm

I know he hasn’t gotten but one hit, but how’s Rev looking?

B-F_52

March 5th, 2012
5:49 pm

This guy is a gamer I hope he gets all hisstuff to work for him this year I’m glad we didn’t just use him as a piece in a deal

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

March 5th, 2012
5:52 pm

Jurrjens pitches, we score ten runs and haters are nowhere to be found.

Zing

March 5th, 2012
6:05 pm

Man, I sure hope Jurrjens and Hanson are healthy all year and Hudson is able to come back at 100%. If that happens… could be a special year, guys.

Flyin South

March 5th, 2012
6:10 pm

GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK JJ! SO GLAD Wren & co. didn’t trade our ACE!

Trainwreck

March 5th, 2012
7:03 pm

I think Pastornickey got a hit today

Trainwreck

March 5th, 2012
7:03 pm

Nvm, u said BUT one hit…. my b

Wes Covington

March 5th, 2012
7:09 pm

Good innings by Gearin and Fish today. Nice hitting by Terdoslavich. And, good that we didn’t trade Prado. Looks like “Chipper will be in and out of the lineup again so Prado is a necessity to have.

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

March 5th, 2012
7:18 pm

just glad that prado4president did not say first…….

Billy Bruton

March 5th, 2012
7:57 pm

Looks like there are no position player openings. The bench 5 will be Diaz, Jack Wilson when healthy, Ross, Hinske, and Constanza. Done deal if no trades or injuries.

Mark (another one)

March 5th, 2012
8:37 pm

Billy: Good possiblity of the bench except you only have one middle infielder. Hicks can play there as well, and may rate over Constanza. I just believe the middle defense is what they will look for when selecting a bench. I bet Hicks would be a better defensive replacement in CF than Constanza at SS or 2nd.

Does anyone know if Constanza or Hicks has any options left?

Rick

March 5th, 2012
9:11 pm

Mark I’m betting it would be Constanza or Durango as they would want someone who plays CF. Although they’d only have one true back up at shortstop, Prado can always play second and Constanza or Hinske in left. If Chipper is out too, Wilson or Hinske can play third.

Disgusted

March 5th, 2012
10:43 pm

JJ is so much better than the sabermetric WAR, BAIP and PECOTA geeks make him out to be.

Good first outing, good he is pain free & stay healthy and win in the high teens and pitch 200 IP this time around JJ.

Glad that Wren would not let himself get lowballed in a trade.

Disgusted

March 5th, 2012
10:48 pm

I am glad we did not move Prado who was an .800 OPS guy two yrs in a row.

I don’t care if he hits 12 to 15 HRS a yr as long as he gets his share of doubles & base hits. If he can move around a little better in LF (and do not forget the staph infection), and do what he did offensively in 09 and 10 that is good enough.

I’d rather have Prado then a Seth Smith type. And Adam Jones, yes he had a nice yr last yr but do you trust LM to keep him around. Why would u want to give up some of the young pitching for a guy you are not sure LM will sign long term.

Its about trying to win on the cheep with this corporate cheeps. And there is nothing that Mr. Wren or Fredi can do about it except to move smart and delibarate.

American pain consultants

March 6th, 2012
7:06 am

Hi there,

What’s up, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post? It just so very helpful. Keep on posting!

Braves Fan for 55 yrs

March 6th, 2012
8:16 am

Can we possibly have Braves on TV WITHOUT Chip Caray. Caray spelled backwards is Yarac only Chip is 10 times worse than his Grandpa.

Jeff R

March 6th, 2012
8:21 am

There was some talk last season that Jurrjens had slacked off his conditioning regimen, which couldn’t possibly help if he’s prone to knee troubles. He also seems to have a tendency to carry weight. All the more reason to train and condition.

Kharma

March 6th, 2012
8:38 am

JJ hurt his knee because of his stride. Assuming he did not change his stride he will continue to get hurt. I’d trade him while he still has value.

Jeff R

March 6th, 2012
9:10 am

Jurrjens would have to pitch effectively and in good health for a while this season before other teams would make an offer for him – a good offer. And if the Braves are contending, and Jurrjens is contributing, I doubt Wren would be open to a trade until after the season.

coach joe

March 6th, 2012
9:30 am

This blog is much more positive than the other one… how can you not be pumped up in Spring Training. ?? WE can catch the Phillies this year f we hit. Thery are going to have problems scoring runs.

Go Braves..

Lobosolo

March 6th, 2012
9:34 am

Jeff, I think the other teams that would offer for JJ would have WAY more information than you have, not to mention the ability to do something with that knowledge… Glad to see there are some real fans that root for their team on here… I guess all of you self-appointed managers and GMs have better things to do than actually enjoy the beautiful game of baseball for what it is… If you aren’t expressing your “expertise” on here, I’m sure you’re weighing in on politicaal blogs with your answers to the world’s problems… Here’s to a great season by the Bravos!

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