ATLANTA -- While Tommy Hanson is aiming to pitch in an instructional league game within the next week, fellow Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens has been forced to deal with the fact that a right knee injury could prevent him from pitching in the playoffs for the second straight year.
"I'm trying to stay positive and take it day by day, but it's something that you have to check on reality too," Jurrjens said. "In a way, are you going to be able to help this team out? Every athlete is going to say 'yes.' I could say, 'Yes, I will come and pitch.' But is the guy going to help? I don't know yet. That's the thing I'm doubtful [about]."
Jurrjens has been sidelined since Aug. 30 because of fatigue and discomfort caused by a bone bruise in his right knee. The 25-year-old pitcher has worn a knee brace for the past four days. But there still is no indication of when he might even be cleared to begin throwing again.
"It's frustrating and annoying," Jurrjens said. "Sometimes, it's tough to be around the guys right now. But I just have to deal with it and make the most of it."
Jurrjens entered the All-Star break leading the National League with a 1.87 ERA. After posting a 6.26 ERA in his first four starts after the break, he was placed on the disabled list. He returned two weeks later and struggled in three more starts before being shut down again.
Jurrjens believes he should have waited more than two weeks before returning from the DL last month. He believes he needed to spend a few additional weeks strengthening his right quad muscle to take pressure off his knee.
After having a torn meniscus repaired in his right knee via arthroscopic surgery in October, Jurrjens had to wait a couple of months before he was able to begin re-strengthening his right leg. He believes this might have set him back and caused the fatigue he has felt during the season's second half.
While Jurrjens might have to wait until next year to pitch again, Hanson is still hoping to return in time to make a regular-season start for the Braves and be ready to be a part of the postseason rotation. His right shoulder has responded favorably, as he has thrown on a regular basis over the past week.
After throwing off the mound Sunday, Hanson awoke Monday with normal soreness. The 25-year-old pitcher will likely throw another side session Wednesday and then possibly travel to Florida to make a rehab appearance in an instructional league game.