There were some folks who were skeptical as Jair Jurrjens returned to the mound on Wednesday night. Talking Chop was among them:
Many people questioned whether Jair Jurrjens was ready to return to the Braves' rotation... Well, maybe it was just me, but I had my reasons. After all, he had only three rehab starts, and he didn't exactly light the AAA world on fire when he was down there.
Consider those questions answered. Jurrjens returned with a vengeance tonight, striking out 6 Nationals in 5+ innings of work. He did give up some baserunners (6 hits and 2 walks), but made some good pitches when he needed to, and except for the 6th inning, got out of all the jams. His fastball had tons of life, and he threw 56 of 85 pitches for strikes (66%). He did miss his target badly on a few pitches, but all in all he pitched about as well as we could have hoped after such a long layoff.
Even Jurrjens was nervous and didn't know what to expect:
"It was like I was making my Major League debut again," Jurrjens said. "When you [are sidelined] for two months, you never know what's going to happen. I was just a nervous wreck."
But it was all good because his fan club was in the house:
In front of a Turner Field crowd that included a band of scrubs-wearing “Jurrjens’ surgeons” in the upper deck, Jurrjens came out pitching with precision. He allowed only two of the first 15 batters to reach, throwing 43 of his first 59 pitches for strikes.
Jurrjens punctuated his first inning back by striking out Zimmerman on a 94-mph fastball to complete a perfect first inning with two strikeouts.
“It was great to see him be JJ,” Matt Diaz said. “In the first inning when he threw 94, we all kind of looked at each other in the dugout like, ‘OK, all right, we remember now.’ So it’s been nice.”