Strained left hamstring lands Jurrjens on DL
Righty hoping to return to mound after missing just one start
WASHINGTON -- Jair Jurrjens quickly overcame the shoulder discomfort that he experienced during Spring Training. The Braves can only hope that the young right-hander experiences the same kind of recovery while dealing with a strained left hamstring.
Jurrjens told media members on Tuesday that he didn't believe he would be ready to make his scheduled start against the Phillies on Saturday. After expressing this same concern to Braves manager Bobby Cox on Wednesday, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
"I think going on the DL is the best thing for the team," Jurrjens said. "I think it will give me a chance to heal 100 percent."
The decision to put Jurrjens on the disabled list created a chain reaction that provides Craig Kimbrel his first chance to get a taste of the Majors and Kris Medlen the chance to make his first start of the season.
"It's better that they put somebody in there that's 100 percent healthy, not somebody who is 50 percent," said Jurrjens, who has been sidelined since the strained left hamstring forced him to exit Thursday's start against the Cardinals after just one inning.
Because Medlen will be starting in Jurrjens' place against the Phillies on Saturday afternoon, the Braves needed to fill a void in their bullpen. It didn't take them long to decide to fill it with Kimbrel, who learned he was getting his first call to the Majors shortly after Jurrjens was placed on the disabled list.
During the 15 innings he has completed with Gwinnett this season, Kimbrel has allowed two earned runs, surrendered seven hits, recorded 21 strikeouts and issued just five walks. Opponents have hit .143 against the hard-throwing righty, who didn't allow a run in the nine innings he completed during the Grapefruit League season.
"He's pretty impressive," Cox said of the 21-year-old right-handed reliever, who was attempting to get to Washington, D.C., before or during Wednesday night's game against the Nationals.
Jurrjens does not believe he will miss more than one start. The 24-year-old right-hander plans to begin jogging on Friday and if all goes well he could begin throwing off a mound again as early as Saturday.
"It's improving every day," Jurrjens said. "I'm just not ready to pitch right now."
Jurrjens is aiming to make his next start on May 15, which is the day that he would be eligible to come off the disabled list. With an offday scheduled for May 13, the Braves would be able to align their rotation in a manner that he would be in line to make the start that day against the D-backs.
Coming off the successful 14-win campaign he enjoyed last year while posting the National League's third-best ERA (2.60), Jurrjens has experienced plenty of frustration this season. He was slowed at the beginning of Spring Training by an inflamed right shoulder and through his first five starts this year, he is 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.