Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/24/12
Barring anything unexpected, right-hander Tim Hudson should be back in the rotation this weekend when the Braves host the Pirates. The plan since spring training has been that rookie right-hander Randall Delgado would be optioned to Class AAA Gwinnett when that happens. But because right-hander Jair Jurrjens has been pedestrian at best -- 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in his first three starts, comprising 13 1/3 innings -- fans have been clamoring for Jurrjens to be sent down when Hudson is activated rather than Delgado. Jurrjens, 26, is not out of minor league options, but he's not likely to be sent down. That said, Monday's five-earned-run, nine-hit effort in only three-plus innings in the 7-2 loss to the Dodgers isn't going to give him or anyone else more confidence in him. Delgado is a young pitcher in more areas than his age: 22. He has been consistent only in pitching no more than five innings in an outing. He plunked two Diamondbacks in Sunday's loss, a 5 1/3-inning appearance. He walked four, including opposing pitcher Ian Kennedy to load the bases and gave up a grand slam. This rally started after two outs with nobody on. He did get his first major league hit, though, a single off Kennedy. Delgado has the pitches and the presence and will be in the rotation. But Jurrjens was an All-Star last year before his right knee gave way. Because of the knee injury, Jurrjens is wearing a custom brace when he pitches. That takes some getting used to, and he still has to learn to trust that the knee is solid. And he has to relearn his mechanics after trying to compensate last season. Only late in November was it discovered that his right big toe joint is shorter than normal, which caused his ankle to turn out and put stress on his knee. That also made his hip weak. The pain this caused was gone within two weeks after adding a custom pad in his right shoe. Given his track record, then, Jurrjens has to get the benefit of the doubt -- and the spot in the rotation. This early in the season, at least. Frankly, though, as much trouble as Jurrjens has had locating his fastball, it does appear that he's afraid to push off on that right leg. "We're not going to make any crazy decisions right now," manager Fredi Gonzalez says.
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