Jurrjens to make O's debut on Saturday

Jurrjens to make O's debut on Saturday

BALTIMORE -- Orioles right-hander Jair Jurrjens was in the clubhouse on Friday, and he'll be added to the roster and make his Baltimore debut on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jurrjens -- signed as a non-roster invitee this past offseason -- will be making his first Major League start since July 22, 2012 -- a 2 1/3-inning outing for the Atlanta Braves in which he surrendered six earned runs to the Washington Nationals. In eight starts with the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, Jurrjens is 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA, pitching 51 2/3 innings and allowing 19 runs (18 earned) on 44 hits and 15 walks with 36 strikeouts.

"It's feeling good," Jurrjens said of his right knee, which has hampered him the past few years and remains a question mark, with the Orioles changing the terms of their initial terms of the contract following some issues with Jurrjens' physical.

"I haven't really been paying attention to my velocity," Jurrjens said. "I really cannot tell you how fast I am throwing. I'm just happy with the way I've been performing the last couple outings. I'm getting a lot of swings and misses again, and that's a good sign. I'm just trying to repeat my delivery and keep being consistent and keep on getting innings."

Jurrjens' regular day at Norfolk would have been Saturday, and he'll face the Rays for the first time in his career, with an opportunity to stick in the Orioles' rotation because of Wei-Yin Chen's oblique injury.

"If the command is there, he'll give us a chance to win," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Jurrjens. "It's been a long journey for him. I'm sure tomorrow, I don't know if anxiety's the word. He's done this before. I know a lot of people miss, I know I did originally, how young he is. This guy's not like 31, trying to make a comeback. [He's] 26, 27 years old. We'll see. I'm anxious to see."

Since becoming a National League All-Star in 2011 -- when he was 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA at the break -- Jurrjens has struggled. Last season, he was 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) for Altanta, spending most of the year at Triple-A Gwinnett before he was non-tendered this past winter.

"It's not my first time pitching in the big leagues, in a big league ballpark," said Jurrjens, who is a career 53-37 with a 3.62 ERA.

When asked if he will approach Saturday as a tryout, Jurrjens said, "I'm just going to take it as another game. I'm going to go out and try to eat innings and try to give my team the best performance I can."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.