Orioles' Jair Jurrjens pleased with first spring start

The Baltimore Sun

Right-hander Jair Jurrjens, making his first spring appearance in an Orioles uniform, allowed one run and four hits over two innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Pitching the game's first two innings against a lineup made up mostly of starters, Jurrjens retired the first five batters he faced, but then allowed a single to J.P Arencibia and issued a walk to Colby Rasmus before Mark DeRosa plated a run with an RBI single.

"I felt good,” Jurrjens said. “My timing's coming back. I still need to work on the slider. The timing's a little bit off on that. But I felt really good. The ball's coming out like I want it to. I'm keeping the ball down. That's the main thing."

Signed to a minor league deal, Jurrjens said his focus is different this spring.

"My situation's a little bit different this time,” Jurrjens said. “When you have a job, you just come in and try to get in shape. Now, when you're competing for a job, you need to try to get in shape as quick as possible. Losing my timing in spring training is usually something that happens to me all the time. The more and more I get on the mound, the more comfortable I get and I think the more I start feeling where I need to release the ball. I can feel my timing coming back."

In his first inning of work, Jurrjens’ fastball – which averaged 88.6 mph last year – sat at 91 and peaked at 93 in the last pitch of the inning, in which he induced a fly out from slugger Jose Bautista.  

"Yeah, for me it is [important],” Jurrjens said. “It shows how hard I worked this offseason. I think last year, I can hit how many times I hit 93 in the whole season. For the first game in spring training, to go out and throw 93 the first game, for me it was a really big [accomplishment].

"I was more happy than surprised. It just shows that when you really dedicate and put some time into your work in the offseason, it pays off. And it's paying off so far."

Jurrjens sat at 89-90 in his second inning of work.

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