Duquette on Jurrjens contract

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed today that pitcher Jair Jurrjens’ contract includes an opt-out clause if the right-hander begins the season in the minors and isn’t promoted to the majors at a certain date.

Duquette joked that he couldn’t remember the exact date.

Jurrjens originally agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal that included another $2.5 million in possible incentives, but he settled for a minor league contract after taking his physical.

“I think that the team was more comfortable with a minor league deal and there’s some safeguards for the player in there, as well,” Duquette said. “At least we have a chance to work together and see if we can help him be a good big league pitcher. If you look in the book, it’s hard to find players with that kind of record at his age. He’s a highly skilled pitcher. Great control. And we just thought it was interesting to get involved with him.

“The kid’s a winning pitcher and we’re going to see if we can get him back to the form that helped him win over 50 games. Made the All-Star team just a year ago in 2011. We’ll see if we can help him regain the form that made him a good pitcher. He’s a sinkerballer, plus he has a good changeup. He’s young, he’s 27, so there’s a chance he could learn how to pitch effectively and manage the situation with his right knee.

“He’s been working out in Tampa and he’s also been throwing, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Three weeks passed from the time that news broke of the original agreement to last night’s announcement of the minor league deal and spring training invite.

“We were trying to learn more about his knee and what it would take for him to pitch effectively,” Duquette said. “That’s was a lot of the discussion and a lot of it was an educational process for the club. We referred it to a couple of doctors. We were also trying to learn the most effective way to help him regain his stature from earlier in his career. That took a little time.

“I thought that we would get a deal done. It just took a little bit longer time and a little bit more education on our side of the fence.”

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