Jurrjens could help Braves now and possibly in trade scenario

NEW YORK – With Brandon Beachy probably out for the season due to a partially torn elbow ligament, the Braves now more than ever need Jair Jurrjens to return to something resembling his old form.

Beachy is headed to see Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, and Jurrjens will head to Boston to take over his turn in the starting rotation for Friday’s series opener against the Red Sox.

“I’m curious to see him pitch,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Jurrjens on Tuesday, a day after getting the bad news about Beachy.  “Obviously not under these circumstances, when somebody gets hurt. But it’s good to have a guy [to plug in] who made the All-Star team last year.”

The Braves hope that Jurrjens will at least resemble the pitcher he was in the first half of the 2011 season, when he went 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA and made the National League All-Star team, rather than the woeful pitcher he was this season before his demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Jurrjens went 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA and .411 opponents’ average in four starts before being sent down and instructed to work on improving most aspects of his game, from fastball velocity to conditioning.

His statistics at Gwinnett have not been impressive – 3-4 record, 5.27 ERA, .294 opponents average and seven homers allowed in nine starts before Tuesday, with 28 strikeouts and 12 walks in 56-1/3 innings. But Gonzalez insists reports from the Gwinnett coaching staff have been glowing, and said Jurrjens made progress in areas that needed addressing.

“We asked him to improve his consistency on his [velocity], which he has,” Gonzalez said. “Strengthen the [speed difference] in his changeup and his fastball, and he’s done that. And I think he’s come up with a slider that’s got more depth on it. I’m curious to see him pitch, I really am.”

Curious and hopeful. Because if Andrews’ second opinion on Beachy’s injury is what most expect it to be and surgery is recommended, the Braves are going to need the rest of their starters to pick up some slack. That, or trade for an established veteran pitcher, which would likely cost the Braves a prospect or two and stress a payroll that has little room under the Braves’ current self-imposed limit.

Beachy’s 2.00 ERA was tied with the Mets’ R.A. Dickey for the major league lead among qualifying starters, and the Braves right-hander’s .171 opponents’ average was the majors’ best. Expecting the rest of the rotation to pick up the slack would seem a bit unrealistic.

“You can only do so much,” said Tommy Hanson, who’ll start Wednesday’s series finale against the Yankees. “It definitely sucks for our team that Beachy’s not going to be there.”

Jurrjens allowed two walks and no hits with two strikeouts in one inning Tuesday for Gwinnett, making a brief appearance so he wouldn’t go six days without facing hitters prior to Friday’s return to the Braves.

It’ll be with anticipation, and perhaps some crossed fingers, that the Braves run him out to face the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

“It could be huge,” Gonzalez said. “That’s a big pickup if he comes back in the form like he had last year and replaces Beachy in the rotation. That could be a big deal for us.”

Not only for the immediate benefit of the team, Gonzalez said, but also possibly to keep other teams from trying to take advantage of Atlanta if the Braves pursue a trade for another pitcher.

“What it does, if JJ comes out and pitches well, the snipers all of a sudden they don’t raise their prices if we decide we want [to trade for a pitcher],” Gonzalez said. “They won’t say, you need him really bad, so instead of this [asking price] it’s these two other guys.”

24 comments Add your comment

Ralph

June 19th, 2012
7:09 pm

David from Athens, AL

June 19th, 2012
7:10 pm

moeleary

June 19th, 2012
7:17 pm

don’t trade nobody for nobody, we already got the goods

Dawgdad (The Original)

June 19th, 2012
7:23 pm

Amazing how in 2.5 months you can go from “we like our team” to this. Did they think they were going to get through the year with no injuries.

And as far as getting a veteran, with what they are willing to pay, they couldn’t afford Tyler Yates or Joe Borowski.

gotigers72

June 19th, 2012
7:34 pm

My last image of JJ is him walking off of the mound after getting shelled, head down, talking to himself, obviously terribly frustrated. What a sad picture that was.

Hopefully he can find himself again as a pitcher, get back in the game, get some confidence back and help the Braves AND himself. Keep your chin up Jair.

bostonbravo

June 19th, 2012
7:38 pm

well, Cox cable is having broadcast trouble with Sports South…either that or Frankie Wrenn has traded for a “Vita Mix” blender.

DaStuck

June 19th, 2012
8:12 pm

Paging Buddy Carlisle, You have a phone call says his name is Frank.

Done

June 19th, 2012
8:18 pm

How stupid is Jason Heyward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jharber

June 19th, 2012
8:52 pm

till the GM and manager are fired this TEAM is toast. at least bobby would have sit chip after that line drive got away from has been. awful looking team on field know fire or drive even huddy is getting down.

Brandon

June 19th, 2012
8:55 pm

Thata boy Heyward!

GwinnettDad

June 19th, 2012
9:05 pm

Braves up 4-3 thanks to Heyward. 6 runs for the roadtrip so far.

DJ

June 19th, 2012
9:16 pm

I wonder if we’re interested in Dempster now.

esasc4

June 20th, 2012
8:00 am

hope we go for a wandy or garza type pitcher, inning eaters that will keep you in a ball game, make every start,pitch 7-8 innings and not end up on the DL like dempster. JJ wont get the job done. Hope he throws a shut out, but reality tells me he will go 4-5 innings, giving up 4-5 runs, 4 walks, 1 strike out, 2 HR’s and leaves with the bases loaded and no outs. Hope you prove me wrong JJ. Good luck!.

Tim

June 20th, 2012
8:49 am

I say let the kids pitch. They gotta learn sometime. Our offense isn’t going to carry us to a title this yer anyway. Turn it over to Teheran, Minor, and Delgado! Work towards next year instead of putting them off!

IsFreemanaWussie

June 20th, 2012
8:53 am

STILL, yes STILL, need a RH hitter.

Edward

June 20th, 2012
10:35 am

Why trade? You are not going to get a top line pitcher that can help the Braves. If the Braves are looking for a veteran pitcher, Jair Jurrjens is a veteran pitcher.

Glen

June 20th, 2012
10:35 am

After the Texiera trade fiasco, I know the Braves will proceed cautiously and not screw up like that again. I say start Medlin. Isn’t that why they sent him down…to stretch him out to start?

mpimentel

June 20th, 2012
12:32 pm

Is ridiculous to make a trade involving some prospect to land dempster…been the only one available don’t make him a good option…we have so many arms who can pitch: huddy, hanson, delgado, minor ,and medlen..another step back there is jjj and if another step back bring up teheran…..why make a trade for dempster or garza c’mon!!!…if this team need an upgrade have to be in offense for sure

[...] Jurrjens could help Braves now and possibly in trade scenario | Atlanta Braves“We asked him to improve his consistency on his [velocity], which he has,” Gonzalez said. “Strengthen the [speed difference] in his changeup and his fastball, and he’s done that. And I think he’s come up with a slider that’s got more depth on it. I’m curious to see him pitch, I really am.” Curious and hopeful. Because if Andrews’ second opinion on Beachy’s injury is what most expect it to be and surgery is recommended, the Braves are going to need the rest of their starters to pick up some slack. That, or trade for an established veteran pitcher, which would likely cost the Braves a prospect or two and stress a payroll that has little room under the Braves’ current self-imposed limit. [...]

bravesfaninwest

June 20th, 2012
1:22 pm

Trade for Dempster? A 35 yr old average pitcher who is owed $14 million this year? Dont think so. Garza would be a tad better only because he’s younger & owed less. Yet Dempster has been better this year. Neither excite me. I’d rather see Jurgens or Teheran on the mound. Teheran got a raw end of the deal vs Jays. If Livan doesn’t give up that slam, he leaves with 1 earned run.

bravesfaninwest

June 20th, 2012
1:36 pm

Also I’m not sold on the idea of Medlen being the answer as a starter. Four of his last five outings, he has given up runs. If he’s giving up 1 or 2 runs an inning in relief, how bad is he gonna be as a starter? Heck JJ can give Other than Durbin & O’Flaherty, our set-up as been so-so. Maybe that’s more of a trade need.

bravesfaninwest

June 20th, 2012
1:37 pm

meant: “JJ can give that….”

bravesfaninwest

June 20th, 2012
1:40 pm

And I guess Liven didn’t give up a slam after Teheran left. He gave up 4 consecutive hits. Either way even though he loaded the bases, Teheran deserved a better fate as he only gave up 1 hit & 0 runs through first 4 innings he pitched.

[...] return to the starting rotation on Friday against the Red Sox, according to David O’Brien (via ajc.com), will have to return to his old form. Curious and hopeful. Because if Andrews’ second opinion on [...]

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