The Atlanta Braves will be holding their collective breath as they await word on the health of one of their best pitchers. Braves starter Jair Jurrjens will travel to Atlanta later this week to have an MRI on his sore right shoulder.
Jurrjens reported to camp a week before pitchers and catchers were scheduled to arrive on Friday, expressing lingering soreness in his throwing shoulder. The 24-year-old hurler was examined by a Braves athletic trainer this week, who found Jurrjens’ rotator cuff and labrum in his shoulder to be structurally sound.
The team’s decision to have Jurrjens undergo an MRI seems to be a precautionary measure at this point and no cause for immediate concern. The Braves are hopeful that Jurrjens is just experiencing normal soreness and will be diagnosed with a simple case of tendinitis.
Jurrjens reported he felt a twinge in his shoulder when he flipped a ball underhanded in a recent game in his hometown of Curacao, Netherlands.
Despite being hampered by shoulder fatigue in the past, Jurrjens has responded well to a strengthening program, where he participates in specialized shoulder workouts early in the offseason.
Jurrjens, along with former Brave Javier Vazquez, were arguably the team’s co-aces last season. The Braves, who were expected to have one of the best rotations in baseball again this year, would suffer a severe blow to their staff if they were to lose Jurrjens for an extended period of time.
Jurrjens was 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA that was the third-lowest in the National League in 2009. He also played a pivotal role in the Braves’ late push for the NL Wild Card, going 4-1 with a minuscule 1.25 ERA in September, earning himself NL Pitcher of the Month honors.
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