Jurrjens making strides, but return not in sight

Jurrjens making strides, but return not in sight

CHICAGO -- Statistically, Jair Jurrjens has impressed during the two starts he has made since being sent to Triple-A Gwinnett. But the Braves will need to see more from the former All-Star pitcher before they can confidently bring him back.

"It wasn't like he was going down on a rehab assignment or something," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's, without making it sound cruel, he's a Minor League player right now. He's doing his part. Hopefully, that continues."

Jurrjens limited Charlotte to two runs on five hits during a 95-pitch, eight-inning effort on Sunday. Through his first two starts with Gwinnett, he has posted a 1.80 ERA and limited opponents to a .176 batting average.

During his next few starts, the Braves want to see him focus on commanding his fastball, which has lacked the velocity he was able to generate before his right knee began bothering him at the end of the 2010 season.

The results in the first two Minor League outings are not necessarily surprising. Jurrjens also minimized concerns when he completed a horrific exhibition season with consecutive strong outings against Astros split-squad teams.

After Jurrjens posted a 9.37 ERA in his first four regular-season starts, the Braves sent him to Gwinnett.