Was Jair Jurrjens 'abused' by Braves?


In the wake of the news that Jair Jurrjens has a sore shoulder, Alex Remington if Jurrjens was "abused." Money shot:

    Remember, young pitcher attrition is extreme. So Jair's got the odds stacked against him. Does that mean that the Braves were wrong to let Jair Jurrjens pitch 215 innings? Maybe, but 215 isn't actually a very high number when you consider that it's an average of fewer than 6 1/3 innings per each of his 34 starts. It might have been best if they could have shut him down during the stretch run, but he was the team's second-best pitcher, and they couldn't afford to lose him -- and even then, they weren't overly reckless with his pitch count, as he stayed at or under 100 pitches for five of his last seven starts despite never pitching fewer than 7 innings.

    The hell of it is that there isn't much the Braves could have done to prevent this. Arm problems for young pitchers are all but inevitable. All we can do now is cross our fingers and hope.

I'm roughly 90 percent in agreeance with Remington here. Still, though I don't have the foggiest idea if it would have helped -- does anyone, really? -- I might have been just a bit more cautious with Jurrjens.

And it's not like the Braves didn't have any options. Young Kris Medlen rocketed through the minors, first as a reliever and then as a starter, and debuted with the big club last May. He started three games, went to the bullpen for six weeks, started another game, and spent the rest of the season as a reliever. He finished the season with nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

I don't mean to suggest that Medlen would have been as good as Jurrjens. My point is they could have skipped Jurrjens three or four times during the season, replaced him with Medlen or someone else, and still had a reasonably decent chance of winning those games.

But that's just the cautious 10 percent of me. The other 90 percent thinks that if Jurrjens is seriously injured, it would have happened whether he'd started 34 games and pitched 215 innings, or 30 and 180.