Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 1/30/12
Jair Jurrjens appeared to be heading to his best season as a major leaguer in 2011. He was 12-3 with a NL-best 1.87 ERA and pitched 1-23 scoreless innings in the All-Star Game, but then his season fell apart. His surgically repaired right knee began bothering him and he won only one more game before the Braves shut him down for the final month. Jurrjens finished with a 13-6 record and 2.96 ERA, but pitched only 152 innings. He agreed to a one-year deal worth 5.5 million earlier this month, after an offseason filled with trade rumors. Andy Johnston recently spoke with Jurrjens, who addressed his injury, his rehab, his contract and the rumors. Q: Does your knee feel good? A: Yes, its feeling really good. Im getting more confident, and Im getting stronger. Every day Im trying to get my body to be more balanced, and make everything the same. Everything is strong, right side, left side thing. So its doing good, and Im just excited to get started. Q: Were the problems you had in August and September related to your surgery the year before? A: Its just everything. I had a lot of things to work on after the surgery. When you have surgery, you only concentrate on the part of your body you have surgery on. I think I had more problems. I think I needed to get my hip in shape and the other parts of my leg. I had to take a lot of pressure off my knee, and everything just had to go along for the ride. There was a main concentration issue, and I had to make the whole leg stronger, not only the knee, but the whole leg. Q: How would you rate yourself going into spring training? A: Eighty percent, for sure. The first couple of weeks of rehab were slow because we were trying to figure out what was going on with my knee. I kept getting pain in my knee, but we figured it out, and everythings been going good, schedule wise. Q: The first half of last year, was that the best you felt or the best youve pitched? You were obviously All-Star, pitching very well. You had a one-hitter. Is that the best youve felt like you were in your career? A: Well, I think because I had more wins last year early in the year, then everybody thinks that was the best Ive had in my whole career. But my first couple of years, I was pitching good, I just didnt get the run support or the wins I got last year. I dont think (2011) was the best. I was lucky. It was going my way. Q: You just signed a one-year deal for 5.5 million. How does that feel? A: Its good, always good. Everybody works to get a raise. Im just happy to get it done with. Its the part of the business that people dont like to deal with because people are saying stuff. Its part of the business, and as a player you understand what goes on behind the door when an agent and team are talking. You cant take it to heart. Im ready to be part of the team, and Im happy to be here still because I think we have a good team and well have a good season this year. Q: Do you feel like it was sort of weird hearing your name in trade rumors during the off-season? A: Nah, its part of the business, and it wouldnt be my first time to be traded. Its part of the business, and I dont take it personally. Im just ready to get going. Q: Are you happy with the team going into Spring Training? Do you feel like you need to sign any free agents? A: No, we base our team on pitching. Our team, if were all healthy and stay healthy, and the young kids come through for us, well be fine. We have a good pitching staff. We have a have a great pitching staff. Lets see if we can put up some numbers from our pitching. It would be good if we could score some runs and give the bullpen some rest this year. Q: Is it good to see Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder in the American league this year? A: Definitely. Those are two tough outs.
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