Jair Jurrjens on returning to the big leagues and his expected start tomorrow

After making eight starts with Triple-A Norfolk, right-hander Jair Jurrjens is here at Camden Yards today and expected to be activated to start tomorrow afternoon against Tampa Bay.

Jurrjens went 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA for the Tides, allowing two earned runs or less in five of his eight starts. Over 51 2/3, he has allowed 44 hits with 15 walks, 36 strikeouts and a .228 batting average against.

Some good stats in the International League, but does he have a feel for how that stuff will play starting tomorrow in the big leagues?

"It can be difficult (to know), because down there some guys just go up there and swing. Here some guys are more patient and they look for one pitch to hit," Jurrjens said.

"It's different, but when people swing and miss, something is working. There are a lot of hitters in Triple-A that have big league time. I know for sure it's going to change, the swing and misses up here, but just going to try and throw strikes and get people out early.

"This is where you want to be, in the big leagues. Just happy to be back and want to help this team out."

The Orioles signed the 27-year-old Jurrjens Feb. 15. He didn't make the team out of spring training.

"Just been trying to get my stuff back together and keep working," he said. "Been trying to have fun again playing baseball, and I've been doing that and working hard to get better.

"I wasn't disappointed (to not make the opening day roster). Some guys really pitched well and that gave me time to go down there and get stronger and work on my control."

Jurrjens had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October of 2009 and went on the disabled list with right knee pain on Aug. 6, 2011, retroactive to Aug. 2. He made just three starts the rest of that season.

Some have felt the inability to push off on that leg has led to decreased velocity for him in recent seasons. But he feels that is no longer an issue.

"I haven't been (paying) attention to my velocity, I can't tell how fast I'm throwing. I've just been happy the way I'm performing. Just trying to repeat my delivery, and the last couple of outings I've gotten a lot of swings and misses. My knee is fine. The strength coach down there had a really good workout plan for me and that is getting back to being 100 percent again," he said.

With Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez currently on the DL, there is at least one current opening in the rotation here. Does Jurrjens look at Saturday's chance as a rotation audition?

"This is not my first time pitching in the big leagues. I am just going to take it as another game, try to eat innings and give my team the best performance I can," Jurrjens said.

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