Atlanta Braves: Jair Jurrjens Optioned to Minor Leagues

Evan WalkerCorrespondent IApril 24, 2012

ATLANTA - APRIL 18: Jair Jurrjens #49 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the New York Mets at Turner Field on April 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

After suffering another rough outing against the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher, Jair Jurrjens, has been sent down to the Braves’ Triple-A affiliates in Gwinnett.

This move should come as a huge transition to Jurrjens who, at the 2011 All-Star Break, was a front-runner for the National League Cy Young award. Since that mid-point of last year, Jurrjens has made 11 starts, posting a shocking 6.87 ERA while struggling with a right knee bruise.

The move to Triple-A could be Jurrjens’ last chance to prove that he's worthy of a Braves uniform.

Prior to the pitcher’s 9.37 ERA in his first four starts of 2012, Jurrjens was consistently linked to offseason trade rumors this winter and one can’t help but think that if the Braves pulled the trigger on a Jurrjens trade earlier, they could have got a much more significant amount in return for the former Cy Young candidate.

Instead, the Braves are now stuck with a former All-Star pitcher rapidly losing trade value in Triple-A and a struggling prospect in Randall Delgado suddenly faced with a much longer stint as the contending team’s fifth starter.

On the bright side, Atlanta’s “ace” of recent years, Tim Hudson, is set to make his first start of the season against the Pirates on Sunday as he returns from a back injury, so the Braves’ rotation will look to improve with Jurrjens trying to figure things out in Gwinnett and Huddy back on the hill.

The Braves’ wealth of pitching in their farm system will allow them to let Jurrjens take as much time as he needs to return to his once-dominant form. His progress will be absolutely crucial to Atlanta’s playoff hopes, whether it be for a spot in the Braves’ rotation or possibly another team’s.