CHICAGO – Jair Jurrjens has pitched well in his first two starts for the Braves’ Triple-A Gwinnett affiliate, but that doesn’t mean the veteran right-hander will soon be back in the majors.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’s heard good reports on Jurrjens, but that his return was not imminent and had, in fact, not yet been discussed.
The 2011 All-Star was optioned to the minors after going 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in his first four starts this season. He is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts at Gwinnett after pitching eight innings Sunday and allowing two runs, five hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
“It wasn’t like he was going out on a rehab assignment,” Gonzalez said, meaning that Jurrjens was sent to the minors to work on a lot of things, from conditioning to pitching mechanics. “Without making this sound cruel, he’s a minor league player right now. He’s doing his part, and hopefully that continues.”
The Braves didn’t expect any magic jump in velocity for Jurrjens after a couple of weeks at Triple-A. That wasn’t the purpose of sending down the 26-year-old. They wanted him to work on a wide scope of things and return when ready to again be a key member of the starting rotation.
“Nobody wants to have $5-1/2 million sitting down in Triple-A,” Gonzalez said, referring to the amount of Jurrjens salary.
But that salary and a couple of good games against Triple-A hitters wouldn’t sway the Braves to bring him back up.
“When he’s ready and we think he’s ready,” Gonzalez said. ““He pitched good [Sunday]. 95 pitches, eight innings, mixed his pitches well. He did a nice job…. Just looking at the numbers and the reports that [Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage] has given to me, and the way he’s acting down there and the way he’s working has been great.
“He told me he was going to go work, and he’s working. I haven’t had any complaints.”