09/01/11 7:43 PM ET
Jurrjens to visit knee specialist, miss start
By Mark Bowman and Chris Cox / MLB.com
After completing a bullpen session at Turner Field on Thursday afternoon, a frustrated Jurrjens said that he has not reached a point where he can confidently push off the rubber with his right leg and complete his delivery with necessary authority.
"My main concern right now is to be pitching in the playoffs," Jurrjens said. "Last year was the worst feeling, sitting on the side and not being able to perform and not being able to help the team in the playoffs."
Jurrjens missed the final two weeks of the 2010 season because of a torn meniscus in his right knee. The ailment was repaired via arthroscopic surgery in October, and he did not have any problems as he posted a National League-best 1.87 ERA heading into this year's All-Star break. But after he struggled to generate power coming out of the break, he spent most of August's first two weeks on the disabled list.
After allowing three homers and six runs in Tuesday's loss to the Nationals, Jurrjens said his knee felt fine, but said he was not trusting it during his delivery. He provided a better description Thursday.
"It's a pinch," Jurrjens said. "Every time I want to push off, it pinches me and I take my leg off the rubber. It's something I want to take care of before it becomes something worse."
An MRI exam performed Wednesday showed no structural damage. But while posting a 5.88 ERA since the All-Star break, it's safe to say Jurrjens' psyche has been damaged.
Dating back to the start of this season, Jurrjens has struggled to generate the velocity he has displayed in the past. When he was not proving tentative with his delivery in the season's first half, he generated more movement with his pitches than he has recently. According to fangraphs.com and brooksbaseball.net ,the average velocity of Jurrjens' fastball before the All-Star break was 89.3 mph. That was down from the 91.6-mph average he had produced over the four previous seasons. But it was better than the 88.6 mph-average he has produced since the All-Star break.
"The way I'm pitching right now, I'm not helping the team," Jurrjens said. "I want to be able to help the team. It's getting better. But it's not getting better on the field. It's getting frustrating because I'm not able to perform and be the pitcher I need to be. I don't need to try to trick people."
The Braves will likely promote Randall Delgado to start in Jurrjens' place Sunday, and then use Julio Teheran to pitch in next week's doubleheader against the Mets in New York.
Salazar to join Braves on bench for week
ATLANTA -- Minor League players won't be the only ones joining the Braves as the rosters expand this month.
Luis Salazar, the Class A Lynchburg manager who lost his left eye after getting hit by a Brian McCann foul ball in Spring Training, will join the Braves for a week when the Hillcats' season ends Sept. 5, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Thursday.
Salazar joined Lynchburg in time for its home opener in April despite undergoing surgeries to repair multiple facial fractures before ultimately having his eye removed in the third procedure after the accident.
"It shows you what kind of spirit he has," Gonzalez said.
Salazar and the rest of his staff will join the Braves for a week. The club will rotate the Minor League coaches throughout the final month of the season.
In addition, two players were called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. Right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro returned to the club after appearing in seven games for the Braves in August. Catcher J.C. Boscan, who was called up when McCann went on the disabled list, joined him.
Gonzalez doesn't expect more than "five or six guys" to join the Braves in September. One of those is Peter Moylan, who has been out this season after undergoing back surgery on May 17. The right-hander will likely return from his rehab assignment on Monday.
Joining him will be top pitching prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado. One of them will likely start Sunday against the Dodgers in place of Jair Jurrjens, while the other will take the mound on Sept. 8 in a doubleheader against the Mets.
Veteran Wilson gives Braves infield depth
ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez knew exactly what he was getting when the club acquired versatile middle infielder Jack Wilson from the Mariners late Wednesday night.
"Defensively, he's really, really good," Gonzalez said. "You can do some stuff with him offensively, bunt, hit and run.
"He's just one of those baseball players. He just comes out and beats you. I'm looking forward to having him on the club for the rest of the way."
The trade that brought Wilson to Atlanta for a player to be named later provides the Braves some much-needed infield depth. Wilson can spell Alex Gonzalez at shortstop, or give Dan Uggla a breather at second base.
He spent nine seasons in Pittsburgh before going to the Mariners in 2009. The 2004 All-Star is best known for his glove, compiling a career .978 fielding percentage in 11 seasons.
"I've always admired him across the way, when he played for the Pirates," Gonzalez said. "This guy makes some plays."
Playing for the Pirates and Mariners, Wilson hasn't had much of a chance to be part of a winning club in September. The Braves are likely bound for the postseason as they carried an 8 1/2-game lead over the Cardinals in the Wild Card race heading into Thursday night.
"It hasn't really hit me yet, but walking in here and seeing my jersey and some of the guys, it's pretty exciting," Wilson said.
Wilson, who arrived at Turner Field around 5:45 p.m. ET Thursday, is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised left heel, but he is expected to come off on Friday.
"I went out there yesterday and went through a full routine," he said. "It was good and refreshing knowing that I can come off on that first day."
Added Gonzalez: "Our scout in Seattle saw him work out. ... He said he's good to go. He said he saw him catch around a 100 ground balls."
To make room for Wilson, the Braves removed left-hander Dustin Richardson from the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Braves broadcast trio on initial Frick ballot
ATLANTA -- Pete Van Wieren, Skip Caray and the recently deceased Ernie Johnson Sr. stand as three of the most recognizable figures in Braves history. Over the course of this month, fans will have an opportunity to show their appreciation for these broadcasters.
Van Wieren, Caray and Johnson are once again being considered for the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award -- a prestigious honor given to broadcasters. Fans can vote for the trio by logging on to http://www.facebook.com/baseballhall.
Fans can vote on the Hall of Fame's Facebook site until 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 30. The top three fan selections will appear on the final 10-name ballot for the award, from which the winner is selected by a 20-member electorate. The winner will be announced in December during this year's Winter Meetings in Dallas.
The Ford C. Frick Award has been presented annually since 1978 for excellence in baseball broadcasting, and is given to an active or retired broadcaster with a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network or a combination of the two.
When Johnson passed away Aug. 12, Van Wieren once again praised his close friend for serving as both a mentor and friend after hiring he and Caray to join him as part of the Braves' broadcast team in 1976.
Johnson, Caray and Van Wieren served as pioneers in the broadcast world, spending the late 1970s and '80s serving as the broadcast team TBS utilized while beaming Braves games to a national audience.
Caray and Van Wieren broadcast Braves games together over the course of 33 seasons. Van Wieren retired two months after Caray passed away, Aug. 8, 2003.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.