SARASOTA, Fla. - Jair Jurrjens was making his final spring training start tonight. He didn’t expect it to span only seven batters.
“Yeah, that sucks,” he said.
To say the least.
Jurrjens was nailed on the right ribcage by a line drive from New York Yankees designated hitter Thomas Neal in the top of the second inning. He will undergo precautionary X-rays on Thursday at 8 a.m.
“Phew, scary. Really scary,” he said.
“I think I tried to come back a little bit and that’s why it got me right there. I think I tried to come back and tried to catch it. It was just hit so hard. Forget it.”
Asked how he’s feeling now, Jurrjens replied, “Really sore. Sore.”
Jurrjens has been sidelined in the past by knee and groin injuries while pitching for the Atlanta Braves. The knee injury affected his mechanics, which he’s slowly regained this spring. He didn’t need another health crisis.
“It’s part of the game. You know the risks we take,” he said. “Every time you get on the field, things can happen. I’m just happy, thank God, that so far it’s not serious. I hope when I get the X-ray tomorrow everything will be fine. I’m just going to play it day by day and see how it goes.”
Jurrjens threw only 21 pitches tonight and was charged with two runs (one earned).
“I felt good in the first inning,” he said. “Trying to work out some stuff, especially in the windup. But I got out of a jam. That’s what happens when you leave a pitch up. He hits it right back to you. But I felt good.
“It makes no sense to talk a lot about the outing, because I didn’t have a chance to throw all of my pitches. But I felt good in the innings I was out there.
Jurrjens tossed five scoreless innings in relief in his previous outing and allowed one run in three innings back on March 17.
“I’m happy,” he said. “Last year, I wasn’t even close at this point. Now I feel strong and I’m getting better and better, and that’s motivation to keep pushing and keep working and just keep getting better.”
Too bad he won’t get another chance this spring.
“I finally got a start again and I wasn’t able to go deep in the game because I got hit, but whatever,” he said.
Jurrjens didn’t figure to make the club out of spring training, though manager Buck Showalter kept including him in the fifth starter discussion. He’s likely to be reassigned to Triple-A Norfolk, and he has a June 15 opt-out clause in his contract.
“Like I’ve been telling you guys, I don’t think about this because it’s out of my control,” he said. “If I try to think about it, I’m going to stress myself out about it. I just show up at the stadium every day and get ready every time it’s my turn to take the ball and do my best. That’s the only thing I can do. That’s the only thing I can control.”
As for tonight’s game, the Orioles scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to erase the Yankees’ 3-0 lead. Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer to right field off David Phelps and Nick Markakis had an RBI single to knot the score.
Update: Bobby Wilson hit a sacrifice fly off Mark Hendrickson in the sixth inning to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Hendrickson has allowed one run and one hit, walked two and struck out one in two innings.
Adam Russell and Troy Patton each tossed a scoreless inning earlier in the game.
Dillon Gee will start for the New York Mets on Saturday. The Orioles still haven’t named a starter. It could be Johnny Wholestaff, as manager Buck Showalter likes to say.
Update II: Brennan Boesch hit a two-run homer off left-hander Chris Petrini in the seventh inning, and Ben Francisco followed with a solo shot.
Addison Maruszak had an RBI single and Mason Williams stroked a two-run double. Petrini exited with six runs on the board. Andy Loomis replaced him.
Feels just like Game 5, doesn’t it?
Yankees 10, Orioles 3.
Tonight’s attendance: 8,660. That’s a sellout.
Update III: The Orioles scored five runs off Branden Pinder in the bottom of the seventh, the last three on Taylor Teagarden’s home run.
It’s the late innings and that’s sort of what he does.
Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts had RBI singles. That’s two for Markakis tonight.
Update IV: The Yankees scored a run off Loomis in the eighth and Chris Dickerson left the game with an undisclosed injury.
Dickerson pulled up while chasing Melky Mesa’s fly ball and trying to avoid Conor Jackson. Mesa was credited with a double and took third on Dickerson’s error.
Talk about adding insult to injury.
Yankees 11, Orioles 8.
The Orioles really need spring training to end before they run out of healthy players.
Update V: The Orioles went down in order in the bottom of the ninth and lost, 11-8.
The Orioles’ record falls to 18-9-3. They lost two players to injuries tonight.
Put this one to bed.