Orioles right-hander Jair Jurrjens battles control against Twins

February 28, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Orioles right-hander Jair Jurrjens, making his second spring start, struggled mightily through a 34-pitch inning in Thursday’s Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers.

Jurrjens allowed three earned runs on two hits and three walks, battling his control throughout the outing. Of the eight hitters he faced, he threw just two first-pitch strikes.

“My timing today was way off,” Jurrjens said. “I wasn’t finishing the ball, it was starting a ball and then finishing a ball. It wasn’t looking like a strike and then finishing a ball.”

Jurrjens said his mechanics are currently “out of whack”  – from his release point to flying open with this deliver – and that his right knee problems of the past have something to do with it.

[It’s] a mechanics issue,” Jurrjens said. “I think having been in bad habits for a couple of years. I just got to figure out how to get the good habits back, the good timing. Get that feel back.”

He struggled from the beginning against the Twins. After left fielder Darin Mastroianni led off the game with a double down the left-field line, Jurrjens issues back-to-back one-out walks to Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham to load the bases.

Justin Morneau then hit a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line, plating three runs to give the Twins a 3-0 lead. The last run was scored on a fielding error on second baseman Yamaico Navarro, who bobbled the relay throw from right fielder Conor Jackson.

Jurrjens then issued a four-pitch walk to catcher Ryan Doumit before getting a pop out from Chris Parmelee and a ground out to short off the bat of Trevor Plouffe.

“It’s a long spring training [luckily] for me,” Jurrjens said. “I’m going to keep working and try to find that release point and the ball do what it’s supposed to do.

“I’ll definitely try to take [from] what happened in this game,” he said. “I’m going to try to pay more attention to the bullpen and work more deeply on the release point.”

Of the 34 pitches Jurrjens threw in the inning, just 13 were strikes. His fastball topped a 92-mph multiple times, but ran steadily at 88-90

Jurrjens’ initial major league deal with the Orioles was changed to a minor league deal after questions about the health of his right knee arose.

Jurrjens, who threw two innings in his spring debut Sunday in Dunedin, is the third Orioles starter in a many game who was pulled for meeting his pitch count before completing two innings.

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