05/07/12 8:26 PM ET
Jurrjens making strides, but return not in sight
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"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.
Hudson disagrees with Hamels' decision
CHICAGO -- Tim Hudson acknowledged that there are instances when a pitcher must protect his teammates or respond to a situation by throwing at an opposing batter.
But he did not agree with Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels' decision to introduce himself to Nationals 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper by hitting him with a pitch on Sunday night. Hamels admitted after the game that he intentionally plunked the energetic Harper. Major League Baseball responded on Monday by issuing Hamels a five-game suspension.
"Don't hate him because [Harper is] pretty hyped up," Hudson said. "He hadn't done anything to disrespect anybody. He's got some flair. But just about every kid now when they get called up just about does. It goes back to the whole travel-ball era. The kids now are treated like big leaguers when they are 12 [years old] or when they hit their first homer. I like the way he plays. He plays hard."
Harper simply went to first base after feeling the pain of getting hit at the small of the back. Just eight games into his much-anticipated big league career, Harper then stole home as Hamels threw to first base with a pickoff move.
"You don't ever have to hit somebody, but there are a lot of times where it warrants something like that," Hudson said. "It depends on what happens. But you should never hit somebody just because you don't like them or the way somebody plays. That's personal."
Jonny Venters said his left arm reacted favorably after he completed a bullpen session and warmed up twice without entering Sunday's win over the Rockies. Venters had been sidelined since completing back-to-back appearances against the Phillies on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Chipper Jones' bothersome left knee has responded favorably during the past two flights. Jones was in the lineup for Monday night's series opener against the Cubs, but instead of batting second when he filled in for Martin Prado this past weekend, he batted sixth while Prado assumed his normal spot.
Stefan Gartrell was named the International League's Player of the Week after hitting hit .400 (8-for-20) with three home runs and an .850 slugging percentage in five games with Gwinnett last week.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.