Saito, Jurrjens set for instructional league

Saito, Jurrjens set for instructional league

SAN FRANCISCO -- Braves manager Bobby Cox said he was tempted to place Takashi Saito on his National League Division Series roster. But he opted to instead allow the 40-year-old reliever to spend the next couple of days strengthening his shoulder and improving his command while pitching in the instructional league.

When Saito tested his arm during a bullpen session Wednesday, he felt better than he had while completing the same drill 24 hours earlier. But the Japanese hurler, who has been sidelined since Sept. 17, still struggled with his command.

"His arm feels pretty good," Cox said. "He was rusty in the bullpen yesterday. The ball wasn't going where he wanted it to on every pitch and he is a strikeout pitcher. He's got great control, and he's got to have that control."

Saito will pitch in an instructional league game Saturday.

Jair Jurrjens, who has been sidelined since Sept. 14 with a sore right knee, will pitch in an instructional league game Monday or Tuesday.

Cox said he remains hopeful that Saito and Jurrjens would be available if the Braves advance to the NL Championship Series.