By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
4:47 PM EST, February 17, 2013
Right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who signed a minor league deal Friday, threw his first bullpen session in an Orioles uniform Sunday, mixing 45 pitches between a 20-minute session off a full mound and 10 minutes in the team’s indoor batting cages throwing with hitters in the batter’s box.
The Orioles’ contract with Jurrjens went from a $1.5 million major league deal to a minor league deal when the team had concerns about the health of the pitcher’s right knee. But Jurrjens said he was pleased with his first session in front of coaches.
“I’m still trying to get my windup. I feel like there’s stuff in need to fix in it, but I feel really good about what’s coming out,” Jurrjens said. “And the main thing is I’m pain free.”
Before reporting to camp, Jurrjens was training in Tampa and throwing bullpen sessions on his own, but this was his first in front of Orioles coaches. Orioles manager Buck Showater said he’s talked to pitching coach Rick Adair about analyzing tape of Jurrjens’ delivery before and after his struggles.
“We're at the point now where we're seeing if he's favoring the knee or whatever,” Showalter said. “This guy at one time had outstanding command. Most of the problems he had can be traced to the issues he had with his knee. So, we'll see.”
After Sunday’s session, Jurrjens said he’s already received suggestions.
“I think from now [on], my bullpens are going to keep getting better and better,” Jurrjens said. “They’re picking some stuff out and I’m going to concentrate on that and I think it will come easier for me.
“I think the stronger I get, I think the mechanics will come quicker and the more comfortable I’ll get on the mound. It’s going to be more of a mind game for myself to trust myself and trust what I’m doing to get stronger and just going out there and try to have fun again.”
Jurrjens said he will be ready to pitch in games once the Grapefruit League schedule opens next Saturday.
“I’m doing everything. I have no setbacks,” Jurrjens said. “I’m just working to get stronger and more comfortable on the mound a little more and get ready for the games when they start.”
Around the horn: Showalter said he’d like to get shortstop J.J. Hardy out of the No. 2 hole in the batting order this season. Hardy started 150 out of 158 games in the No. 2 spot last year, hitting .236/.281/.380 in that spot. … The Orioles found out when they’d be losing their players and coaches who are leaving to participate in the WBC. Catcher Allan de San Miguel (Australia) and infielder Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands) have to play first-round games in Taiwan, so their last days in camp will be Friday and Saturday, respectively. Center fielder Adam Jones (United States) and catcher Chris Robinson (Canada) will leave after camp ends March 2 and reliever Pedro Strop and bullpen coach Bill Castro depart after the workout March 3. … Other pitchers who threw bullpen sessions Sunday were: Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton, Dylan Bundy, Adam Russell, Zach Clark, Steve Johnson, Kyle Wright, Todd Redmond and T.J. McFarland.
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