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Brandon Beachy's injury has provided at least one more opportunity for Jair Jurrjens. Atlanta will call up Jurrjens on Thursday and he will start in place of Beachy Friday night at Fenway Park when the Braves open a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox.
#Braves are going to start Jurrjens on Friday in Boston in place of Beachy. Will join club on Thursday. Probably throw 2-3 IP for GWI before— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) June 17, 2012
Atlanta placed Beachy on the disabled list on Sunday and called up Todd Redmond to provide some depth in the bullpen in the meantime. It appears that Kris Medlen will remain in the bullpen despite being sent down to Gwinnett for two weeks to be stretched out as a starter.
Jurrjens hasn't exactly dominated at the Triple-A level and has been anything but consistent. In nine appearances with Gwinnett Jurrjens is 3-4 with a 5.27 ERA. He was 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts for the Braves before his demotion.
Before Saturday's game Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez talked about the comments made by demoted pitcher Jair Jurrjens and had a pretty simple message for the right hander. Jurrjens was upset by the move the Braves made to send Kris Medlen to the minors to start working on stamina in preparation for a starters role.
Gonzalez indicated that the move with Medlen had nothing to do with Jurrjens and that the two were separate issues.
"He's a big part of this organization," Gonzalez said of Jurrjens. "We're just waiting for him to pitch two or three good ballgames, bottom line. I don't think the Medlen thing has anything to do with him, really."
After that he had a simple message for Jurrjens that basically says if he wants to get back to the Braves rotation then he needs to pitch better and show some consistency at the Triple A level.
"We're just waiting for him to run a good string and feel like he can help us," Gonzalez said. "When he can, we'll move him up. It's got nothing to do with ‘We don't want him' or don't care about him, or Medlen."
Jurrjens' stint with Gwinnett has been a roller coaster ride so far with a few good starts mixed in with a lot of bad. Two starts ago he through his best of the season throwing eight shutout innings while allowing three hits against Rochester. He followed that up by lasting just 4 2/3 while allowing 12 hits and 10 runs (six earned) on Friday.
Less we forget Jurrjens salary for this season is $5.5 million which he is paid regardless of whether he is in Atlanta or Gwinnett. The Braves have no incentive to bury him in the minors.
Jair Jurrjens' minor league stint to try and get back to his All-Star self hasn't gone as planned, and with a lot invested in the 26-year old right-hander its seems the relationship between the Atlanta Braves and Jurrjens is starting to become sour -- at least, that's how Jurrjens sees it.
"I understand it’s a business, and they need to do what they need to do," said Jurrjens, less than a year removed from being an All-Star. "But you have feelings, and it hurts when you feel like you’re not wanted somewhere."
For after a month now, Jurrjens has been with Triple-A Gwinnett, where he's compiled an ERA of 5.56 and is 3-3 overall. Those numbers haven't been good enough for the Braves to recall Jurrjens to the big leagues, and when the front office by passed Jurrjens for after sending down Kris Medlen it didn't sit well.
"You hear stuff. When the Medlen stuff happened, people around here, my teammates, were like, ‘Wow, they didn’t even think to call you back up?’ People were asking me, ‘Did they say anything to you?’ It just shows me what I mean to them. It doesn’t feel good, but that’s OK. It’s business."
If Jurrjens want to make it back to major, it seems not only his performance will need to turn around but so will his attitude.
"All I can control is my performance," he said. "If I’m not in their plans, I’ll move on. But I’m not a Triple-A pitcher."
Jair Jurrjens was sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett to get healthy and to regain his confidence on the mound that he had lost ever since struggling mightily in the second half of the 2011 season. Unlike Jeff Francoeur, who had a very sinister attitude following his demotion to the Minors back in 2008, Jurrjens understood the move completely and has vowed to get better.
The 26-year-old made his first start in the Minors on Sunday afternoon and pitched well, working seven innings against the Toledo Mud Hens. Jurrjens allowed just one run to score on four hits and three walks, striking out four batters in the process.
An encouraging note: JJ needed just 94 pitches to get through his seven innings of work. Since he lacks great 'stuff' on the mound, getting the third and final out or getting out of a jam has been a serious issue for Jurrjens in recent years. While the talent level is obviously lower in Triple-A, it was encouraging to see him be a bit more efficient on the mound.
Look for Jurrjens to make yet another start on Friday or Saturday.
For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.
Struggling Atlanta Braves starter Jair Jurrjens was demoted to AAA following another disaster start on Monday, but the righty isn't pointing fingers at anybody else. While many players would be angry at management for not having more faith, Jurrjens said that he can only blame himself for his demotion.
"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.
Jurrjens' struggles are nothing new, though. Jurrjens struggled in the second half in 2011, going just 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA in 41.1 innings after the All-Star break. In those 41.1 innings, Jurrjens walked 19 while striking out only 25.
Further, Jurrjens' velocity has dipped each of the last three years. In 2010, Jurrjens averaged 91.3 mph on his fastball. In 2011, his average heater dropped to 89.1 on the radar gar, and so far this year, Jurrjens has averaged just 88.4 mph.
Atlanta certainly made the right move sending Jurrjens down, and Atlanta brass and fans alike should be hoping that it's something mechanical wrong with Jurrjens -- and not an injury.
For more on the Atlanta Braves, be sure to check out Talking Chop.
The Atlanta Braves called up reliever Cory Gearrin on Tuesday to temporarily take the roster spot of Jair Jurrjens who was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett Monday night after he struggled in his start against the Dodgers. Gearrin figures to stick with the Braves until the weekend when Tim Hudson will be activated in time for his scheduled start on Sunday.
Gearrin has been solid at the Triple-A level this season pitching 12-1/3 scoreless innings in 10 appearances for the Gwinnett Braves. Gearrin has 15 strikeouts against two walks on the season. He will give manager Fredi Gonzalez and extra arm to use out of the bullpen until Sunday. As a rookie in 2011, Gearrin had a 7.85 ERA in 18 appearances with the Braves.
Jair Jurrjens is headed to Gwinnett. The Braves will announce a corresponding roster move on Tuesday.