Two months later, the right-hander appears quite confident that he will capably fill the huge void created when it was learned Brandon Beachy would need season-ending elbow surgery.
There seemed to be a variety of opinions about what to expect from Jurrjens when he made his return to the major league scene at Fenway Park on Friday night.
But it seems safe to assume that he quieted at least a few of his doubters after allowing just one run over 7 2-3 innings in a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox.
It was the Braves’ third straight win.
While allowing just three hits, including two in the eighth inning, Jurrjens looked much like he had when he entered last year’s All-Star break with a Major League-leading 1.87 ERA.
As he navigated his way through the 103-pitch effort, it was hard to believe this was the same pitcher who had posted a 9.37 ERA in four starts before being forced to begin a two-month stint at the Minor League level.
Adrian Gonzalez’s opposite-field single in the first inning stood as the only hit Jurrjens had surrendered before Will Middlebrooks opened the bottom of the eighth with a double and later scored on Daniel Nava’s two-out double off the Green Monster.
That marked the end of the evening for Jurrjens, who saw his effort preserved by Chad Durbin, who prevented any further eighth-inning damage, and Craig Kimbrel, who notched his 21st save.
Jurrjens’ dominant return helped the Braves win their third consecutive game and distance themselves from some of the concern they were feeling this week once it was known Beachy would not be able to avoid Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
There is not much comfort in replacing a guy who was leading the majors with a 2.00 ERA with another who had posted a 5.18 ERA in 10 starts against International League opponents.
But if this start was an indication of things to come, the Braves should find comfort in the fact that Jurrjens made the most of his time in the Minors and has returned stronger and much better than few could have expected.
Jason Heyward highlighted his three-hit performance and helped provide Jurrjens and early lead with a one-out fourth-inning double to put runners on second and third base.
Matt Diaz followed with an RBI groundout before Andrelton Simmons enhanced Jon Lester’s frustration level with a two-out double that scored Heyward.
Simmons, who grew up watching his older brother play with Jurrjens in their native Curacao, added a sixth-inning insurance run with a sacrifice fly that scored Heyward, who had reached with his second double of the evening.
Heyward has batted .389 (21-for-54) with seven multihit games in his past 15 games.
His recent success provides reason to wonder if he can boost the Braves’ offense just like Jurrjens will if he continues to pitch like he did against this potent Sox lineup.
Jurrjens’ velocity has been an issue since his right knee started to bother him at the end of the 2010 season.
His fastball rested around 91-92 mph during the early innings of his return.
When it started to dip during the middle innings, the 26-year-old pitcher found success with his changeup.