DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jair Jurrjens said he was happy, not surprised, to see the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium radar gun light up at 93 mph in the first inning of his Spring Training debut Sunday afternoon, but you couldn't have blamed him for feeling both emotions.
Jurrjens gave up one run on two hits and a walk in two innings against the Blue Jays, and he came out throwing harder than he has in recent years. Jurrjens' fastball consistently hit 91 mph on the scoreboard in the first inning. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was impressed with the life and sink on Jurrjens' fastball, especially against a quality lineup like Toronto's.
According to FanGraphs.com, Jurrjens' fastball maxed out at 91.8 mph last season and clocked in at an average of 88.6 mph. He didn't throw much harder in 2011, with an average fastball of 89.1 mph.
"It shows how hard I worked this offseason," Jurrjens said. "I think last year, I can count how many times I hit 93 in the whole season. For the first game in Spring Training, to go out and throw 93 the first game, for me it was a really big [accomplishment].
"It just shows that when you really dedicate and put some time into your work in the offseason, it pays off. And it's paying off so far."
While Jurrjens and Showalter were both pleased with the right-hander's fastball, his breaking pitches were a bit sloppy toward the end of his outing. Jurrjens felt like he was rushing his delivery and couldn't get his timing right, something Showalter said is normal for any pitcher this time of year.
With a spot in Baltimore's starting rotation on the line, however, Jurrjens is looking to get that sorted out sooner rather than later.
"My situation's a little bit different this time. When you have a job, you just come in and try to get in shape. Now, when you're competing for a job, you need to try to get in shape as quick as possible," Jurrjens said. "Losing my timing in Spring Training is usually something that happens to me all the time. The more and more I get on the mound, the more comfortable I get and I think the more I start feeling where I need to release the ball. I can feel my timing coming back."