Jair Jurrjens returned to the Atlanta Braves’ rotation yesterday rested and ready to do battle against the Washington Nationals. In five-plus innings, Jurrjens struck out six and allowed one run (thanks to the relief work of Peter Moylan) and knocked in the go-ahead run as the Braves took the rubber game of the series and won 4-1.
Jurrjens’ admitted to being nervous before the start after two months on the Disabled List because of a hamstring injury, but showed none of it on the mound. His fake bunt and slash RBI single to left field almost took out Ryan Zimmerman on its way to left field.
As our own Kent Covington has pointed out, Jurrjens’ hamstring injury was a blessing in disguise. In Spring Training, Jurrjens battled an inflamed shoulder and elbow. The two months on the bench gave his shoulder and elbow time to recover that simply wasn’t happening before the injury, when his fastballs were routinely in the high 80s. Last night, Jurrjens’ fastball was what Kent calls “resting” in the low 90s – indicating Jurrjens is likely not experiencing the arm issues he was before his DL stint. The other hidden blessing of Jurrjens’ injury was of course the rise of Kris Medlen as the best 5th starter candidate on the team.
If Jurrjens can stay healthy the rest of the season and be as effective as he was last night, his return from the DL will become the equivalent of pulling off a blockbuster trade for another ace. Jurrjens is probably our number two or three pitcher in this rotation, and with his return, our rotation is stronger than it was with Kawakami in Jurrjens’ spot.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Jair Jurrjens, Washington Nationals
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