This is not how redemption was supposed to go for Jair Jurrjens.
As if having a one-year, make good deal worth $1.5 million falling through wasn’t bad enough; at this rate, the minor league part of minor league deal he signed with the Baltimore Orioles is quickly becoming a reality.
The team felt good enough to invite the righty Spring Training, even if they weren’t confident about his health enough to guarantee him major league money.
So far, he’s done nothing but prove their doubts to be well founded.
Jurrjens was by no means spectacular in his first spring start with the team, but at least it could have been something worth building on. On Thursday, however, the 27-year old simply fell apart. Facing the Minnesota Twins for a scheduled two innings, the right-hander barely made it out of his first, giving up a pair of earned runs (three total) on two hits, including a bases-loaded triple to Justin Morneau.
Two hits shouldn’t have done that much damage had they come on their own, but Jurrjens worked himself into a bad situation with a pair of consecutive walks prior to the big hit. He even handed one one more free pass for good measure afterwards, giving him a total WHIP of 5.00 for the day.
In short, the former All-Star showed neither control nor stuff.
Considering that Jurrjens was probably already on the outside looking in to a crowd of young pitchers trying to impress the team for final two spots in the rotation, his latest outing could only have dropped him further back in the race behind guys like Zach Britton and Brian Matusz, both of whom have pitched well thus far.
Worst yet, the opportunities are going to quickly diminish, as guys who are ahead of him get their pitch counts increased the next time out.
So where does it go from here? Well, Jurrjens might get a couple more multi-inning outing to turn the ship around, and even then, he’d probably only be looking to try to be impressive enough to earn a job in the team’s bullpen as a long man.
Maybe if he can finish strong enough and the O’s don’t have room for him, he could perhaps choose his own destiny by asking for a release, and seeking employment elsewhere as a starting pitcher.
But should he have another couple of outings like this? Well, he might still probably have to do the same, except it won’t be on his own accord.