Jurrjens on demotion: “Nobody to blame but myself”

The results have been poor, his pitches ineffective, but Jair Jurrjens’ attitude is something the Braves struggling ace has going for him.

Jurrjens reported to Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday, two days after being told of his minor league demotion, and it sounded like his mind was in the right place.

Disappointed? Yes. Angry? No.

“If you’re honest with yourself, I have nobody to blame but myself,” said Jurrjens, who was 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts this season. “I cannot be mad at anybody other than me.”

Jurrjens called it a “reality check,” and said it hasn’t been easy.

Monday was a long night for him, after he was called into manager Fredi Gonzalez’s office in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, following three rough innings in a 7-2 loss.

“It was hard,” said Jurrjens, 26, a first-time All-Star in 2011. “Especially when you have a couple years in the big leagues, and it looks so easy and suddenly you go through a rough patch and it’s hard to figure out what’s going on.”

He called his parents Carl and Esther Jurrjens in Curacao in the wee hours Monday night, not wanting them to hear about it through the media first.

“It’s a little heartbreaking when you make your dad cry for the wrong reasons,” Jurrjens said. “It’s just going to make me push myself when I’m down here to get back up there and put that smile back on his face.”

Jurrjens said his father didn’t break down while they were talking, but his brother texted him later that his father had gotten emotional.

“It (stinks) when you let your family down a little bit,” Jurrjens said. “They support me and are pushing me to make sure I keep my head up and I keep pushing to get back up there.”

Jurrjens had 72 hours to report but chose to go ahead and come in on Wednesday after taking Tuesday to fly back from Los Angeles and catch up on some rest.

He spent Wednesday afternoon long tossing and taking pitchers’ fielding practice during an early workout, with his shades on and the familiar Puka shell necklace poking out of the top of his Gwinnett Braves uniform.

“It’s a learning experience right now,” Jurrjens said. “Before I left the house, my fiancée said, ‘Just go there and try to have fun. This is the game you love. Don’t go out there with a pouty face and show everybody you’re not happy to be here.’”

Jurrjens said he had a similar conversation with Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage when he arrived at Coolray Field.

“He didn’t want me to be hanging my head down,” Jurrjens said. “That’s my main thing try to get out of that funk and clear my mind and start having fun. When I start having fun again, I think everything is going to click.”

Jurrjens knows there are no easy answers. He said his right knee, which hindered him at the end of the past two seasons, is fine. “Actually I wish I had something to blame it on,” Jurrjens said. “That’s the funny part.”

He did acknowledge he might need to build up his leg strength a little more. He also wonders if he lost too much weight over the offseason, when he dropped from 210 to 194.

He’s eager to study video to see if he’s been lowering his arm angle, costing his pitches some late movement. He also understands that his problems may stem from a loss of confidence. He thinks he might be pitching with some hesitation left over from the pain he felt pushing off on his knee last season.

“You try to be aggressive, but when stuff starts going the wrong way, everybody is human,” Jurrjens said. “You want to play tough, but still it’s going to play with your mindset a little bit. Just need to try to get that mindset back that I’m going to get you out and I think I’ll be fine.”

This is Jurrjens’ first demotion in five seasons with the Braves. He said the Tigers sent him down to Single-A Lakeland Fla. when he struggled his second year in Double-A Erie in 2007. Two weeks later he was back up in Erie, and he pitched in the majors for the first time that August.

“I’m here to figure out what’s going on,” said Jurrjens, whose next scheduled day to pitch is Saturday in Toledo. “I take it as a time to calm down and not stress so much and try to get back to having fun. Try to learn – that’s the main thing – and correct the things I’m doing wrong. And go back to the big team and try to help them out.”

94 comments Add your comment

Joey

April 25th, 2012
5:57 pm

Good luck JJ.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
5:58 pm

Tera

April 25th, 2012
5:58 pm

Glad to hear he’s keeping his attitude positive and is ready to work hard. I hope he is able to figure it out and come back to kick some butt!

Joey

April 25th, 2012
5:59 pm

Maybe you’ll get sent to hell, Heilfuhrer.

Scumbag.

Robert

April 25th, 2012
6:02 pm

Heilfuhrer…..your an idiot!!! go play in traffic

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
6:02 pm

JJ will be back. He will be stronger than ever.

UpYoursPieceofgarbage

April 25th, 2012
6:02 pm

Special name made only for you Heilfuhrer You dont deserve to be allowed here you wasted piece of crap

monty

April 25th, 2012
6:03 pm

Like to see that IP address banned.(heilfurer)

The Grinch

April 25th, 2012
6:03 pm

I hope someone deletes that comment; I’d hate for it to be the first one Jair or his family reads.

Brandon

April 25th, 2012
6:03 pm

@Heilfuhrer – how can we send him back to somewhere that he is not from?

Nova Scotia Steve

April 25th, 2012
6:03 pm

Heilfuhrer – Idiot

UpYoursPieceofgarbage

April 25th, 2012
6:04 pm

FYI Heilfuhrer he is from Curaco where are you from the local rejected sperm bank ?

Zac in Tempe

April 25th, 2012
6:04 pm

Heilfuhrer,
I hope you were trying to be ironic, because that was ugly and uninformed.

Puma

April 25th, 2012
6:05 pm

Wow, great comments from JJ, better attitude than I would have had I think.

Not that you read this stuff JJ, but your dad wasn’t upset because he was disappointed in you, he is upset because he doesn’t like to see his son struggling. He is proud of you no matter what, just wants you to be happy. Well at least that’s how I would feel if it was my son.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
6:09 pm

Turnip truck fixing to leave town.Heilfuhrer get on it and do not come back. WHAT A JERK.

michael

April 25th, 2012
6:11 pm

i won’t even respond to the idiot.JJ good luck
would like to make comment re mgmt .They nare the worst.On Mon checked BA of SSthey were hitting 325-175 +150.We need a sss even if have to give up prospect

Bat Masterson

April 25th, 2012
6:13 pm

Thanks, Carrol, nice work.

I hope JJ gets it sorted out and comes back strong.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
6:14 pm

He cant read Bat.

Marshall

April 25th, 2012
6:15 pm

Agree with Puma – dad just likes knowing his son has a smile on his face, not that his son is famous or the best or whatever you want to say…simply that his son is happy

BravesfaninWis

April 25th, 2012
6:16 pm

I just don’t think that Jurrgens will be the same pitcher again. I think with all the young arms the Braves have, that its best that they both move on from each other. He has the right approach about his demotion though.

count_schemula

April 25th, 2012
6:16 pm

This blog needs cleaning. Can’t participate in this one until most all of the above comments are deleted.

stan

April 25th, 2012
6:17 pm

Heilfuher, you are an ignorant racist and your mother probably was knocked up by her brother

Frank

April 25th, 2012
6:17 pm

Hey Heil Fuehrer. First off you spelled your own name wrong. May I suggest you start calling yourself……. Arschloch. Just trying to help.

bruce

April 25th, 2012
6:18 pm

best wishes to you JJ

Bob

April 25th, 2012
6:21 pm

Hope he gets things worked out. Can’t say his struggles are really surprising though. He always seemed to be the luckiest guy in the majors.

Tony C.

April 25th, 2012
6:23 pm

Go kick ass JJ!

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
6:25 pm

Go get them JJ. Come back soon

Milt Famey

April 25th, 2012
6:29 pm

GREAT attitude JJ. Keep the faith, young man. Just let your natural talent shine through. You are one of the best athletes on the team.

Scot

April 25th, 2012
6:33 pm

I love his positive attitude, the exact opposite of Frenchy when Frenchy went down to AA a few years ago. JJ will be back with Atlanta soon and be better than ever!

tim

April 25th, 2012
6:36 pm

way to take it like a man JJ keep your head we need you no doubt you will get it worked out and come back stronger than ever

hiway 61

April 25th, 2012
6:36 pm

Good man and good player. He will return because his attitude is good and he wants to get it right. He will please his blood family and Braves family with his hard work.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
6:39 pm

With that attitude he will go a long way. Good luck JJ.

JT Grace

April 25th, 2012
6:40 pm

JJ is a class act. I hope he figures out what is wrong and comes back to Atlanta and proves the doubters wrong.

reckingball

April 25th, 2012
6:40 pm

I wish him the best, I think that he can get hisself straightened out.

Ralph

April 25th, 2012
6:41 pm

I just hope they don’t rush him back, we can get along without him so long as we don’t have a bunch of injury’s, must judge his progress by the radar gun, movement on his pitches and location, not era or wins against minor league hitters. They need to make sure he is back to his old self before bring him back, don’t wont to burn any more of those options. I’m sure a lot of scouts are going to be checking him out and if anyone wants to trade for him they would like for him to have options.

59bulldawg

April 25th, 2012
6:42 pm

Gotta love his attitude! I hope he finds the problem, corrects it quickly, and is back in the bigs real soon! JJ I’m pulling for you!

Mr. Enigma

April 25th, 2012
6:50 pm

Refreshing to see Jurrjens’ humility. I remember Francoeur whined and pouted like a little girl when Wren sent him down in 2008. So of course he came back and continued to suck. I was hoping it wouldn’t be another situation like that.

John in Wichita

April 25th, 2012
6:50 pm

Here’s rooting for Jair in a big way. Seems like a good guy all around… and that will make the success he finds later on all the more fun to watch.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
6:52 pm

What happened to our idiot?

Gene

April 25th, 2012
7:07 pm

It is pretty cowardly to bash JJ on this blog. The guy has some talent and he made a contribution to the Braves. JJ is right where he needs to be, and I am hoping that he comes back to his major league form.

Sopheee

April 25th, 2012
7:07 pm

Chin up, JJ. Cheerin’ for ya.

4xtra

April 25th, 2012
7:14 pm

he’s a good player
KEEP YA HEAD UP
J going to be back in there

Matt the Brave

April 25th, 2012
7:15 pm

Sounds like someone got into JJ’s ear in the organization saying that this is going to be good for him and that it’ll take the pressure off of him for now. Thankfully this isn’t a Francoeur situation where he’s going to whine about it for the entire time he’s down in the minors. Can’t wait for JJ to come back up later in the year to make a major impact. It’ll be like getting a top-line pitcher for a run into the postseason.

MARTEEEEN!!!

April 25th, 2012
7:15 pm

Good luck to you JJ. We’re all pullin’ for ya!

4xtra

April 25th, 2012
7:17 pm

Heilfuhrer must have been removed because he ticked off ALOT of people

nick p

April 25th, 2012
7:17 pm

he will be fine, he has a ggo head on his shoulder, and his struggles are very natural, just ask John Smoltz with a psychologist sitting in the stands for his focus and confidence! like the terminator “he will be back!”

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
7:17 pm

Other than Huddy JJ best there is. Just had a rough patch. Hang in there JJ. We got your back.

Steve

April 25th, 2012
7:27 pm

Have to respect his attitude and willingness to work. I hope he gets straightened out.

1991 braves

April 25th, 2012
7:35 pm

OMG, a rough patch. You guys are so funny. The guy has the worst E.R.A in the majors, and the worst E.R.A with runners in scoring postion. I wouldn’t call this a rough patch. I would call it the truth. Bottomline, the guy has been terrible for 10 months, and he only had about 4 months where he was good. His problem is he throws the ball right down the middle of the plate with no movement, no change of speeds, and no speed. A 90 mph fastball with no movement is like batting practice to major league hitters, and that’s what this guy has become. Forget first half of last year, what has he done lately(last 10 months). So he is a nice guy and he says the right things. being nice will get you killed in the major leagues. There is no way in hell this guy makes it back to the big leagues. Sorry, but that is reality. He never had over powering stuff, and he want get that in AAA. Thank GOD, Wren made this decision on his own, and didn’t listen to his AAA manager. The only bad thing about this decision, is that Wren didn’t send down his manger with J.J. This is a business, and unfortunately J.J. and Fat Fredi don’t belong in the big time.

Fats

April 25th, 2012
7:42 pm

JJ took alot of grief from many of us,but he is taking this like a man and he will be back making us all eat dirt.. Good luck:)

bgvt

April 25th, 2012
7:43 pm

Wow … 1991 …. you seem to have a pretty short memory. Last year, JJ was excellent for the first half and hurt in the second half. You seem to be writing off the entire 2009 season: 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA in 215 innings. His rookie year in 2008 wasn’t too shabby either.

I’m rooting for JJ to put things back together.

Disgusted

April 25th, 2012
7:45 pm

I hope JJ gets it back, ifnotwith us, somewhere else.

I want him to do well for the purpose of making those sabermetric geeks look like the fools they are.

There is nothing wrong with pitching to contact as long as U get guys out.

Would Glavine and Maddux get a chance the way the game is evaluated today?

Sabermetrics and their fancy BAIP and WAR garbage have ruined the game.

ElBarto

April 25th, 2012
7:47 pm

Trade Jurrjens, Kawakami, Brandon Hicks, and two AA, not Terhan, players to the New York Yankees.
Not for a player, BUT their SCOUTING DIRECTOR.

Wren is not a bad GM, but he can use a better assistant GM; that would be the Yankees scouting director in the trade.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
7:50 pm

Who does Mr 1991 think he is? How easy we forget.

ragnar danneskjold

April 25th, 2012
7:57 pm

Hope JJ gets back where he was. Do not think he has time to recover with the Braves – too many cheaper good arms in the system, too much pressure to win here. Francoeur is doing great with KC, JJ may be able to progress faster elsewhere in the same manner.

John Adcox

April 25th, 2012
7:58 pm

I’ll be buying a lot of Gwinnett tickets. Go, JJ!

RedFox

April 25th, 2012
7:58 pm

Best of luck JJ. Hopefully we’ll see you in a few weeks like the old JJ.

David the Shepherd

April 25th, 2012
7:58 pm

Seems like a really good guy with a positive attitude, but this move has been a long time coming. 1991 is a bit more blunt than I am, but I do agree that Fredi should have been holding JJ’s hand as he left.

Brave Decisions

April 25th, 2012
8:00 pm

GTI in Brooklyn

April 25th, 2012
8:00 pm

I wish him nothing but luck and good fortune. I’ve like the guy since we got him. And I hope he gets things figured out and gets back soon.

Supes

April 25th, 2012
8:04 pm

Refreshing to see this kind of positive attitude from JJ on his demotion to AAA.

I think a certain RF left bitter memories for us fans the way he whined and cried like a little baby when he got sent down…

I think Jair will do whatever it takes to get back to the big leagues, wishing him all the best.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 25th, 2012
8:05 pm

JJ, you’re a good guy! You’ll get it all figgered out! I’m definitely pulling for you.

blairjoyfulsound

April 25th, 2012
8:06 pm

Ummm ElBarto, last time I checked, Kawakami went back to Japan and Hicks went to Oakland. I’m thinking that you need a new plan.

Regarding Jurrjens, I really hope he comes back strong. He seems like a happy dude most games, but has not had it these past few. I think this demotion will give him time to get out all these kinks without putting the ATL club behind in games.

Largo

April 25th, 2012
8:12 pm

Good luck and I hope you find the cause of your problem, quickly.

count_schemula

April 25th, 2012
8:15 pm

Wow, JJ is only 26. If true, he still has plenty of time before we relegate him to the dustbin of Dontrelle.

jed

April 25th, 2012
8:16 pm

something’s a little fishy here. we were trying awfully hard to trade him this offseason and now this. i hope there’s not something more going on that we dont know about, as i’m a big fan of jair’s.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
8:19 pm

@jed I really think he is favoring that knee and it takes away some velocity when he doesnt follow through.

jed

April 25th, 2012
8:23 pm

crwford–yeah that’s what i thought too originally but if so, why not DL him a couple weeks instead of sending him to AAA?

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
8:28 pm

They want him to strengthen his arm and legs. Feel it will take more than 2 weeks.

jed

April 25th, 2012
8:34 pm

i hope that’s all there is to it…something seems odd to me though.

GRADYBABY71

April 25th, 2012
8:35 pm

GREAT ATTITUDE JJ..LOVE MY “BOYS OF SUMMER”

Marlon D.

April 25th, 2012
8:36 pm

Good to hear JJ has a good attitude about this. I hope he finds his “stuff” in Gwinette and is back in the show soon.Good luck JJ.

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
8:37 pm

Almost game time. See you tomorrow. Go Braves.

Mister Frisky

April 25th, 2012
8:57 pm

Smoltz did go to the head shrink.Only difference was he walked in to the office throwing high heat.JJ walking in throwing nacho cheese.

Austin

April 25th, 2012
9:12 pm

I wish we would have taken the same route with Derek Lowe last year. Good Luck JJ!

Crawford

April 25th, 2012
9:12 pm

Frisky before I go. We both know who me is and know her well. How did the rest figure it out?

GAVE UP

April 25th, 2012
9:15 pm

I hope he finds the 4-5 mph on his fastball that he’s lost. Without it he’ll never pitch sucessfully in the majors again. He’s consistantly been clocked at a mere 88 mph. That doesn’t get it in the bigs unless you have great curve, slider, or a really good cutter. He’s always been a change-up/fastball pitcher.

Dirty Dawg

April 25th, 2012
9:15 pm

Seems to me that I read here just yesterday or maybe even today, that the Braves had a program planned for JJ that would, in effect, re-do everything….strength, conditioning, delivery, everything. So how come JJ’s not mentioned that? How come the front office hasn’t talked about it? This would make you think he’s headed down without a plan.

#1 Braves Fan

April 25th, 2012
9:16 pm

JJ go get it straight brother, and get back up here quickly. You will be a #2, #3 Starter again very soon man! You have most of Atlanta pulling for you man. And while you are in Gwinnett take advantage of the time to mentor some of the young pitchers to teach them some of the things you would have done differently coming up. GO BRAVES!!!

BIOMASS

April 25th, 2012
9:30 pm

Jurrgens should have plenty of money. I’m not worried about him missing any meals. Obviously, he can’t pitch in the bigs anymore. If you’re a Braves fan, be glad Cox isn’t still manager. He wouldn’t have sent JJ down.

Mark (another one)

April 25th, 2012
9:37 pm

There is a lesson in how JJ is handling the demotion to AAA. It reminds me of how Dan Uggla handled his issues of last season, first class as a person. Sometimes we can’t control what happens in our lives or our feelings, but we can control our actions and words. Uggla was unbelieveable last year, and JJ is starting out the same way.

If anyone has doubts, the Braves have a plan to help JJ get back on top and contribute to the game. Seeing him report and get started in AAA shows he is willing to do the work. Good luck to him.

Dawg Haus

April 25th, 2012
9:41 pm

I hate to see a good dude like Jurrjens struggling, but he’ll bounce back.

Happy Fan

April 25th, 2012
9:44 pm

JJ ….real class dude….. My hope is that the strength in his leg has some how cause the drop in his velocity……

JWOOD

April 25th, 2012
9:55 pm

Yeah, I think JJ has it in him. Hope he gets it together. I don’t see him pitching for the Braves much longer, but I think he has plenty of MLB years in him yet.

Mister Frisky

April 25th, 2012
10:04 pm

@Crawford not sure.I usually run into Me in the mornings when traffic is pretty light.

J-Man

April 25th, 2012
10:06 pm

I dont know if JJ will ever come back because he has lost velocity and movement. He says his knee is fine and if thats the case its all mental. Remember Mark Wholers, he went from being a dominant closer to losing it and never being the same

Mister Frisky

April 25th, 2012
10:06 pm

Good luck to JJ.But MLB Iis no different than the NFL.Next man up potna.

MIBravesFan

April 25th, 2012
10:20 pm

I hope JJ gets things turned around and comes back pitching as well as he showed in the first half of last season that he’s capable of pitching.

NorCal

April 25th, 2012
10:51 pm

Good luck JJ! We’re rooting for you!

Kharma

April 26th, 2012
10:38 am

JJ

You are another victim in the long long line of traditional pitchers. As you are an adult you are correct that you share some blame. But the major blame goes to:

1. The AJC which is evidently too cheap or can’t find investigative reporters that could have driven an hour from your Spring Traing facilit to find out happened to you. Help is on the way, however, as the New York Times interviewed me this week about all the unnecessary pitching injuries, which included your right knee.

Jair, you pull the baseball forward using your Pectoralis Major muscle. That’s not good. You got by on your genetic gifts. Now you are going to have to learn how to pitch and train. That won’t happen in Gwinnett. I can only imagine the BS they gave you about our right knee. .

2. The Braves management. – there are approximately $500MM in baseball pitching injuries at the Major League level every year. At what point do they say enough is enough. Especially since fathers are duped into thinking these guys knowc what they are doing. Dr James Andrews of Birmingham AL has his ASMI crew in door #1 telling gullible parents, coaches and pitchers how to pitch safely and he’s in door #2 cutting the kids up as fast as possible. Dr Andrews did 36 Tommy John surgeries in a recent 3 week period. Pitch counts indeed!

Good luck

FEAR

April 26th, 2012
11:32 am

Feel sorry for ol’ JJ. He’ll be back though. He just has to work it out.

Carter

April 26th, 2012
11:50 am

It’s nice to see a Brave with good character like JJ. The Braves haven’t had the best of luck in that department….(cough, cough) Rocker….but it’s good to see that he hasn’t taken his success to his head like so many other pitchers with terrible attitudes; Zambrano, Martinez, Clemens, Papelbon, the list goes on and on…keep up the good work JJ and best of luck to you!

longtimefan

April 26th, 2012
2:38 pm

Kharma-your post borders on word salad.

CLamarr

April 27th, 2012
5:03 pm

Good luck JJ, you’ve got the right attitude. Don’t listen to haters and listen to your head. You know whether or not you are still hurt, but be honest with yourself. Work like an All-star and if adjustments are needed, work on re-tooling yourself to becoming unhittable again.

Your teammates love you and you have a great pitching coach, so great attitude and thank God for your past success and believing in your abilities. Your family always accept you as you are and that won’t change.

See you back in the Majors with the fierceness of a Tiger.

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