Jurrjens recharged, ready to return to rotation

Jurrjens recharged, ready to return to rotation

ATLANTA -- Jair Jurrjens proved to be one the National League's best pitchers in the first half of this season. But after spending the last two weeks on the disabled list, he says he feels the best he has since the start of Spring Training.

"This is the best I've felt this year," he said. "You can see the 15 days was a good idea. We didn't want to do it, but sometimes you need to be smart and not let the leg be a big thing."

Jurrjens, who was placed on the DL on Aug. 6 with a right knee strain, clearly hasn't been the same pitcher in the second half that he was through the first three months of the season. He's gone 0-1 with a 6.26 ERA in four starts since the break after going 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA in his 16 starts before the Midsummer Classic.

"I think at times, when you get that kind of breather -- especially late in August -- I think it kind of recharges your batteries a little bit," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He didn't get a break, really, at the All-Star break. He pitched. And he was trying to get through that with the legs.

"Maybe this was the perfect time for him to recharge his battery and go the rest of the way."

The Braves have had two off-days since Jurrjens initially went on the disabled list, allowing the right-hander to miss just two starts in that time. He's scheduled to return to the hill Wednesday against the Giants at Turner Field.

"I feel fine," he said. "We've been working really hard on getting my strength in my leg back. It's feeling really good."

Doctors told Jurrjens that his knee might encounter some problems after he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in it last October, but he didn't expect it to happen this quickly. Jurrjens said he's since had to alter some of his weekly workout routines.

He used to run poles after his starts before running inside the next day and outside the day after that. Now Jurrjens is being advised to take as much pressure off the knee as he can, so he'll start doing his workouts on the bike and elliptical instead.

"They advised me to stay off the field," he said. "They don't want to pound the knee anymore."

Jurrjens, who threw a successful bullpen session on Sunday, will now try to reclaim the form that had some fans calling for him to start July's All-Star Game.

"Everything feels really fine coming out," Jurrjens said. "I'm working on some mechanical stuff to get back on the same path I was in April and at the start of the season."