Jurrjens has another crisp start; Delgado falters in 4th inn.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Jair Jurrjens knows what it looked like when he compiled a 10.13 ERA in his first four spring starts, and the Braves pitcher is pleased to have alleviated the concerns of many with his work in his last two.

He pitched seven crisp innings in a 3-1 split-squad win against the Houston Astros on Friday, the second strong outing in a row for the right-hander who suddenly look as if he’s ready for the regular season. Good thing, since the season starts next week.

“Mentally it’s a big boost,” said Jurrjens, who threw 62 strikes in 94 pitches and allowed five hits, one run and one walk with four strikeouts. “And I think it makes a lot of people relax, for sure. [Laughter.] You need to get over the hump sometimes. You need to search real deep and just go out there and go all-out. I’m happy everything went well.”

In Friday’s other split-squad game between the same teams in Kissimmee, the Astros scored four runs in the fourth inning against Braves rookie Randall Delgado and won 5-1.

Jurrjens has allowed just eight hits and two runs in 13 innings over his past two starts, with two walks and 11 strikeouts. Quite a contrast to his first four starts, when he got rocked for 25 hits and 15 earned runs in 13-1/3 innings, with more walks (10) than strikeouts (eight).

Jurrjens said it was a matter of mentally getting past the fear of reinjuring his right knee and focusing instead on making every pitch.

“When you’re dealing with pain for two years it’s hard to get over that,” said Jurrjens, who is wearing a brace to protect the knee he’s injured late in each of the past two seasons. “I just needed to go search for the old J.J., go deep inside and try to bring him out. And go out there and just grind it out and have fun.”

It should be noted that both of his past two starts have come against split-squad lineups for a Houston team that’s projected to finish last in the NL Central. But Friday’s lineup included Carlos Lee and a couple of other Houston starters, and Jurrjens was in complete control after giving up two hits and a walk (but no runs) in the first inning.

Jurrjens got a double-play grounder by by Brett Wallace to work out of the bases-loaded jam in the first.

The Braves then staked him to an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first after opening the inning with three consecutive extra-base hits – a triple by Luis Durango and doubles by Jack Wilson and Freddie Freeman – followed by Dan Uggla’s fly-out to the warning track and Jason Heyward’s sacrifice fly.

“First inning was a little inconsistent, then he settled down,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, pleased to see Jurrjens’ improvement as spring training winds down. “He knows he’s getting closer to the bell ringing, and I think he kind of mentally cranked it up. Now I think he’s ready to roll.”

After a team meeting Saturday morning, Gonzalez is expected to name Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson his opening day starter for Thursday’s game against the Mets at New York.

Delgado, who is competing for the No. 5 starter job, cruised through three scoreless, one-hit innings at Kissimmee, then saw the first five Astros reach base in the fourth on three singles and two walks. Delgado was charged with six hits, five runs (four earned) in 4-2/3 innings and has a 7.89 ERA.

60 comments Add your comment

Stink

March 30th, 2012
10:04 pm

Quite the battle for the fifth starter’s job. Seems like no one wants it.

Ralph

March 30th, 2012
10:10 pm

Stink

Someone wants it, his name is Medlen but the guy that will probably get is Livan Hernandez.

Ralph

March 30th, 2012
10:10 pm

Thank god for the Astros!

Brava

March 30th, 2012
10:14 pm

Good lord! Stop the dumb crap and put Medlen in the rotation until Huddy comes back. Neither Delgado or Teheran have shown they are ready.

JNick

March 30th, 2012
10:16 pm

Every time Teheran and Delgado go out there, they get to about the 4th or 5th inning (2nd time through the lineup) and implode. Not sure when Fredi is going to realize that they’re NOT READY. They both need to go to AAA and learn to PITCH instead of THROW. Great arms, but no idea how to pitch a game.

JNick

March 30th, 2012
10:18 pm

R. Delgado 4.2 6 5 4 2 5 7.89
K. Medlen 3.0 0 0 0 0 2 0.82

“One of these things is not like the otherrrrr….one of these things doesn’t belong….”

William

March 30th, 2012
10:38 pm

I agree with many others. Medlen has paid his dues. He is the best option for fifth starter.

Ken Oberkfell

March 30th, 2012
10:38 pm

Get Medlen in the starting rotation. Wasting him in the pen!

David Perrins

March 30th, 2012
11:14 pm

Medlen is getting screwed. He has such a good changeup and good movement and control. Trade him and let him floroush somewhere else.

PS – am I the only one who loved Jorge Campillo? What happened? He was awesome to watch.

jo killa

March 30th, 2012
11:15 pm

let medlen start but i think the reason why he isnt is becuse he is trying to rebuild his arm strength livan is solid its a solid move untill huddie gets back

JNick

March 30th, 2012
11:26 pm

JJ
Hanson
Beachy
Minor

Kimbrel
Venters
O’F
Martinez
Flande
Hernandez
Medlen

That’s only 11….Hudson will make 12. Not sure if we’ll carry 12 pitchers all year…with the way Fredi abuses his bullpen, might not be a bad idea.

JNick

March 30th, 2012
11:28 pm

@David, if you look at his stats, Campillo didn’t do very well in the 2nd half of the season…Braves released him and he signed with the Royals for a year…didn’t make the team. I think he’s been pitching for a Mexican League AAA team the last couple of years…but yeah, when he was on, he was cool to watch.

Bluedad

March 31st, 2012
12:00 am

Would any other manager in baseball not start Medlen after the spring he has had. We are watching Delgado and Teheran struggle, now we have Hernandez that the lowly Houston Astros dropped, and here is Medlen pitching better than anyone on the staff this spring and he is all but ignored. Maybe Fredi is saving him to be the closer for the second half of the season after Kimbrel pitches every day and his arm drops off. I really miss Bobby Cox.

Bravothusiast

March 31st, 2012
12:18 am

Should have traded Delgado last year. Profiles more as a reliever or a #3 starter (assuming he can stay healthy).

And everybody screaming for Meden… he’s not a starter either… but at this point he’s a more proven reliever than Delgado.

JNick

March 31st, 2012
12:32 am

How does someone profile as a “reliever or #3 starter” – right now, I’d be damn happy if Delgado could pitch like a #3…he’s only being asked to pitch as a #5 and he’s not even doing that.
How is Medlen not a starter? He’s had great success in that role in the past. He’s a hell of a lot better than any of our other options at this point…

Bud

March 31st, 2012
12:52 am

Delgado should start the year in AAA. Medlen needs to be in the rotation.

Bud

March 31st, 2012
12:58 am

Medlen was great in the rotation in 2010, only one loss as a starter. He should be in the rotation.

Bud

March 31st, 2012
12:58 am

Medlen was great in the rotation in 2010, only one loss as a starter. He should be in the rotation.

Kris

March 31st, 2012
1:21 am

Put Medlen in as a starter!

Kris

March 31st, 2012
1:22 am

Medlen should start!

Kris

March 31st, 2012
1:23 am

When the next manager puts Medlen as a starter FG will be long gone.

JNick

March 31st, 2012
1:39 am

Help us Terry Francona, you’re our only hope…

MAC

March 31st, 2012
2:32 am

Fredi needs to get off the MEDS and put him in the starting rotation………………………… see what I did there? …. :)

Dwayne

March 31st, 2012
3:22 am

why why why…….because fredi is an idiot…plain and simple

Stinger2

March 31st, 2012
6:09 am

Mostly pitiful comments. The Braves fans who scream and rant about who should and should not be in the starting rotation have no clue. Only the manager and pitching coach are qualified to make these decisions. Why can`t you people just be fans and leave the managing to the ones who are responsible to do so?

Bill M.

March 31st, 2012
7:10 am

Everbody screaming for Medlen to be put in rotation. I agree but he’s not ready for the long grind. He’s young and they should be careful with him. If he’s not in rotation down the road, he or Delgado will be traded. One of the two should bring back a young hitter.

MikeY

March 31st, 2012
7:44 am

I agree that Delgado and Teheran should start the season in AAA. Note we only need this SIXTH starter for 3 starts, assuming the other 5 are healthy after 5/1. That SIXTH starter could be Hernandez, Medlin, Martinez, or Delgado/Teheran if one of them sparks in AAA.

On another topic, I think Luis Durango has earned a spot on this team. And Matt Diaz deserves to either go to AAA or to be released. I was at the game last night and he was just flailing at pitches. Looked very bad.

My choice for bench: Ross, Hinske, Durango, Wilson, and Sutton (tho Sutton looked lost last night, both at the plate and in the field, made 2 bad throws from third).

longtimefan

March 31st, 2012
8:05 am

There is a reason Medlen has not been named as starter. Do you guys think that Fredi and Wren don’t know everything you know about the team and much more? And for people that answer “It’s because he’s an idiot”-that makes you sound clueless. I would bet most fans on this blog haven’t even personally seen the Braves play this spring, much less talked to the players. And for the bloggers who think they can assess major league talent better than a major league GM or manager, that’s either stupidity or arrogance. Think about. Think about your job(if you have one). The customer or client comes in and says you guys are doing this such and such a thing all wrong. After you explain all the details and behind the scene issues, they say” Oh, I didn’t understand that part of it”. All business is like that: you have to be on the inside to under stand all the complexities.

kangaroo Court

March 31st, 2012
8:23 am

Medlen should be in the rotation, and Delgado should start out the year at Gwinnett.
The early part of the season a 5th starter isn’t used very often. I guess that is why he is not going into the starting rotation?

Bayou Brave

March 31st, 2012
8:35 am

Free Medlen!

LivinInAL

March 31st, 2012
8:41 am

Huddy back in 3 weeks, so Hudson, JJ, Hanson,Beachy; 5th starter is not that vital. It becomes an issue only with an injury one of the top four. All those battling for the 5th spot started game last year so I guess we will survive. Go Braves!

Disgusted

March 31st, 2012
9:03 am

Delgado is just not ready and he would be trade bait for a hitter.

How about Pastornicky and Delgado to the Padres for Will Venable and Chase Headley

And the shortstop job belongs to Simmons/Jack Wilson.

Hey, you need a replacement for Chipper next yr and you figure he misses 50-70 games so u need a good OBP third baseman anyway.

I have lost my patience with Delgado and Teheran. They are not worth it. Move em 4 value if u can.

Disgusted

March 31st, 2012
9:05 am

If they are holding Kris back for the purposses of keeping his arm right, that makes sense.

I just don;t get the hype with Teheran and Delgado, who have bust written all over them.

You just do not win games with scouting reports.

Tampa Gator

March 31st, 2012
9:50 am

I think the Medlen deal all relates to Hudson and his return. I don’t think they want to have to move him back to the pen at that time. But I think Medlen is a better starter now than either Delgado or Teheran. But I don’t think that is the issue. But I would not be surprised to see Delgado and Teheran both return to AAA if they continue to struggle and Hernandez get dropped into the rotation until Huddy returns. Hernandez then can easily return to the pen.

Dawgdad (The Original)

March 31st, 2012
9:59 am

I’m beginning to think Fredi just follows orders from Wren. If my job were on the line, I would want complete control, don’t think he has that choice; it is follow orders or leave. Organization can not win when field decisions are made up stairs.

Larry

March 31st, 2012
10:03 am

“It should be noted that both of his past two starts have come against split-squad lineups for a Houston team that’s projected to finish last in the NL Central. But Friday’s lineup included Carlos Lee and a couple of other Houston starters…”

Noted…three starters on the worst team in baseball! LOL!

Jurrjens is at best a 4th or 5th starter on a major league team, but watch fruiti pitch him and Hanson in the first two games against the mets. If followed by Minor, we start the season 1-2.

Jack Lill

March 31st, 2012
10:04 am

Put Melen in the starting rotation instead of one of the strugglers. Trade Hanson, he is useless.

Larry

March 31st, 2012
10:06 am

LivinInAL,

Ever heard of Mike Minor? I’d take him over either JJ or Hanson in the rotaion in a heartbeat!

Gil in Mechanicsville

March 31st, 2012
10:18 am

Dawgdad (The Original) ditto on who is wearing the pants in the family. Seems as if Wren contradicts Freddi at every turn. Looks like last September has not been forgotten by the Braves’ GM.

Medlen has done everything one could ask of a player to win a spot in the starting line-up. At this point however, I am going to be happy if the Braves just hang onto him.

Even Bobby Cox saw Kris’ potential when he came along at the same time as Hanson. The little guy knows how to pitch. You can see it in his eyes… NO FEAR….

No doubt the Braves still need a bat but after three years, you would think they would have solved that dilemma…

Kris

March 31st, 2012
10:25 am

“After you explain all the details and behind the scene issues, they say” Oh, I didn’t understand that part of it”. All business is like that: you have to be on the inside to under stand all the complexities”

Sometimes you can over-analyze your own business and ignore the obvious. Sometimes EVERYONE sees it except for the boss who doesn’t have common sense. Surely, you have seen that kind of boss? Medlen case is exactly that. As a boss myself, when EVERYONE thinks certain issue should be fixed, you at least listen and reconsider.

Kris

March 31st, 2012
10:33 am

Last year when the Braves had a meltdown, FG had a strange denial going, saying oh DLowe will be fine and look at his post season track record and all. He had 5 or 6 starts in September that could have been given to someone else like Medlen. EVERYONE screamed please bench DLowe. Why can’t we have a manager like Bruce Bochy who has a gut to bench Barry Zito when he struggled in the middle of 120 million contract. They went on to win the world series. Why can’t we have the management with some common sense?

jim

March 31st, 2012
10:35 am

True, there are not 5 starters (even with Hudson) that are better than Medlen. The problem is that of all the starting pitcher candidates, Medlen is the only one who has proven to be effective in the BP. Moving Medlen to the rotation exposes a bullpen depth issue — who after the big 3 do you trust in the late innings with a lead? Medlen gives the team a 4th late inning arm in the pen to take some innings that would otherwise pile up on the big three. Maybe Martinez and/or Flande will prove to be reliable late inning guys, and will handle some of the 7th/8th inning load, but right now the last 3 innings are covered by 4 reliable arms instead of the only 3 we had last year. That is more important a task than the 5th starter.

jim

March 31st, 2012
10:46 am

JJ’s good starts came against Houston split-squad lineups. True, but the 10.3 ERA in his previous starts was not built up pitching against the ‘27 Yankees or their modern equivalent. His struggles came against lineups heavily infused with non roster players. The real question we need to have answered was how was the location, movement, and velocity on his pitches in the last two games? If that was consistent with what he was like last year and his health is not now an issue, then he has a track record of being able to get out major league hitters when healthy.

Kris

March 31st, 2012
10:59 am

That is another byproduct of mismanagement of bullpen last year. I remember FG using OVentrbrel in the late innings of a blowout game in the middle of June. I was thinking, FG is going to overuse his bullpen and that is going to be the difference. Surly enough, that was the difference not making the playoffs even though we had all the pieces to make it. (even with injuries..) Boston fires the most successful manager in the history of their franchise after a meltdown. Tell me again, why does FG get to keep his job?

jim

March 31st, 2012
11:11 am

Why would the Braves trade for Will Venable? He is a decent player who seems to serve his best for the Braves, but he is a left-handed hitter with average power who has not firmly established himself as lineup regular in San Diego. They have internal options that are just as good — The 3B/LF position (the one not fielded by Prado) can be handled by some combination of Chipper Jones, Eric Hinske, Luis Durango, and Parraz. When Chipper returns, he will start for as long as his body lets him, which may be very briefly, then the outfield would have Prado, Bourn, Heyward with no spot for Venable. When Jones isn’t playing, a platoon of Durango, Parraz, and sometimes Hinske could give the Braves enough production in LF (particularly if Durango becomes the Constanza of 2012). The Braves have 4 players who will hit 20+ HRs this year if they stay healthy, and 3 who could hit 30 or more. Prado and possibly Chipper could also reach double digit HR totals. The need for the power bat is overstated. What they need is someone who can get on base, move runners along, and add speed on the bases. Durango could be the gem Wren picked out of the garbage can this winter if given a chance. (Note– I did not mention Diaz as a realistic left field alternative, but he will probably be in the mix because of incumbency.)

AdirondackDave

March 31st, 2012
11:13 am

Yup, Medlin should be starting and the younger guys given another half or full year in Gwinnett or traded for an impact outfielder/3rd baseman. Livan can fill Medlin’s pen role, you betcha…

Heisenberg

March 31st, 2012
11:19 am

So what if Huddy is back in 3 weeks! By then he will only be replacing one of the other starters who has an injury. Then the argument that Medlen will only get 3 starts is moot. I say take your top 6 pitchers (Hudson, Medlen, Minor, Beachy, JJ, Hansen) and rotate one of them to/from the 15 day disabled list throughout the season. Then it is more likely they will all be healthy for the stretch run.

jim

March 31st, 2012
11:19 am

Dave,
What role do you think Medlen would have in the pen that Livan coulde fill?

Bravesgrl4life

March 31st, 2012
11:23 am

Last night’ game that I was at was good. My niece and
I had a really good time.

64 year Braves fan

March 31st, 2012
11:32 am

Release Matt Diaz & Fredi Gonzalez. Should have hired John Farrell like I mentioned 3 years ago.

jim

March 31st, 2012
11:52 am

Only Hudson and JJ (when healthy) have shown an ability to pitch 7 or more innings/start on a somewhat consistent basis. with Hudson returning from back surgery and missing ST, it is problematic if he will be able to give the same number of innings/start. The Braves have at least 3 innings/game that have to be handled by the pen. It is much more important that there be at least 4 reliable arms out there than having Medlen be the 5th starter. (Medlen is also a 6 inning pitcher as a starter in his short time in the role.) If you do not want to blow out the pen again, then you need bullpen depth. FG gets a lot of grief for overusing the pen last year, but with the anemic offense and large number of 1 run games and extra inning games what were his options? Sherrill? Proctor? Linebrink? Martinez did a decent job in long relief and some extra inning situations, but basically he only had 3 reliable arms to cover 3 or more innings in the majority of the games played last year. Medlen is more valuable as a 4th late inning guy than as a starter!

katherine

March 31st, 2012
11:54 am

Hello everyone…..I’m excited for baseball…what about you all ?

Big Country

March 31st, 2012
12:33 pm

Does anyone have the lineup for today’s game?

STRETCH

March 31st, 2012
12:35 pm

The Cubs are looking for pitching:

Cubs Looking For Bullpen Help

By Mike Axisa [March 31 at 9:21am CST]

The Cubs are looking for bullpen help now that right-hander Jeff Samardzija has won a spot in the rotation, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (on Twitter). Chicago recently set their rotation by optioning Travis Wood and Randy Wells to Triple-A.

Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood make a fine end-game duo, but the rest of the Cubs’ relief corps will feature guys like James Russell, Casey Coleman, and Rule 5 Draft pick Lendy Castillo. There are more clubs looking to buy bullpen depth this time of year than shop it, so it doesn’t figure to be easy for the north-siders to shore up their middle relief situation.

phil

March 31st, 2012
12:45 pm

A crisis of leadership.

Until we hire a manager that can put a TEAM together and get it to play like one, we aren’t going anywhere.

Period.

reckingball

March 31st, 2012
12:55 pm

Why is there no one raging-out Heyward today?

bvillebaron

March 31st, 2012
1:02 pm

Larry:

If you really think Minor, who I like, is better than Hanson, then I guess you also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too. I also agree with the posters who feel that Delgado and Teheran both need more seasoning in AAA. However, I do not necessarily agree that this means Medlen shouid get the 5th spot. What many of you forget is that Hudson is scheduled to return on the last week of April and there will not be that many occasions that you need a 5th starter due to off days in April. Makes sense to me that they want to keep Medlen in the bullpen where he is extremely valuable.

jim

March 31st, 2012
1:14 pm

Last week of ST — Opening day starter making his last ST start — going against top pitcher in AL, shouldn’t this be a day when the game is played like a regular season game? Why not start the opening day lineup and play them all 7+ innings. Play this game like it counts, there are still a few games left for getting Jack Wilson some ABs and getting Ross additional plate appearances. The Tigers look like they are starting all their regulars. The early ST games don’t count much, but now is the time to start getting in the habit of winning and playing teaqm, not individual, baseball.

Mark (another one)

March 31st, 2012
4:19 pm

If I’m Fredi, I go with a four man rotation and use the bullpen to do the three spot starts required to keep the rotation on normal rest. The two young guys competing for the fifth spot need to go to AAA and compete. Neither is showing the sharpness right now to pitch on irregular rest at the major league level.

My concern for Medlen is innings. He appears sharp and healthy but starting pitchers usually need to keep their innings down the second year after surgery. Spot starts shouldn’t be a problem and it leaves him in the bullpen to help keep the big three rested the rest of the time.

MAC

March 31st, 2012
10:50 pm

Mark, you make a lot of sense. I like our bullpen. i’m just ready for baseball.

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