ATLANTA (AP) - Jair Jurrjens says he's ready to help the Atlanta Braves, who need a boost after a slow start to the season.
``I'm ready to pitch,' Jurrjens said Friday. ``I'm ready to help this team. That's the only thing that matters right now.'
Jurrjens is scheduled to make his first start in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the New York Mets.
Friday night's game was postponed due to rain.
The teams will play a traditional doubleheader Saturday, with the first game beginning at 4:10 p.m. The second game will start approximately 30 minutes after the end of the first game.
The announcement of the postponement, following a delay of 55 minutes, came shortly after fans were advised the National Weather Service had issued a severe storm warning for Atlanta and a tornado warning for North Georgia.
Friday night's scheduled starters - Atlanta's Derek Lowe and New York's D.J. Carrasco - will start Saturday's first game.
Jurrjens will face Mike Pelfrey.
The storm is expected to pass through Atlanta Saturday morning, leaving clear skies for the doubleheader.
Jurrjens strained his right oblique in Atlanta's spring game against Toronto on March 24.
The right-hander was one of the Braves' top starters in his first two seasons. He was 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 2008 and 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA in 2009. He was slowed by hamstring and knee injuries last season, when he was 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA.
He wasn't convinced he needed to be placed on the disabled list for the start of the season.
``Actually, it's behind me,' Jurrjens said Friday. ``Right now I'm just happy I'm back. Nobody's going to be happy going on the DL if you think you can pitch, you know? I understand the point of view; I respect that. It's behind me.'
Jurrjens said the injury ``wasn't severe at all.'
``One pitch I felt it and that's it,' he said. ``One pitch, I felt a cramp or whatever you call it. Went inside and asked them to stretch me and they said, 'Let's be smart about it. Let's not try to make it worse.''
By the following day, Jurrjens said he felt fine, so there was no need for an MRI.
``The next day I was able to do everything,' he said. ``It didn't hurt to breathe, it didn't hurt to do anything.'
Jurrjens pitched six innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday, allowing two runs on four hits against Norfolk. Jurrjens threw 81 pitches.
``We will try to keep him at 100,' said manager Fredi Gonzalez when asked if Jurrjens will be on a strict pitch count against the Mets.
The Mets aren't happy about having to play their second doubleheader in three days.
Mets officials called the commissioner's office on Friday night when plans were being discussed to reschedule Friday night's game.
New York was swept by Colorado in a doubleheader Thursday in New York after being rained out Tuesday.
New York is scheduled to return to Atlanta on June 14-16 and again Sept. 16-18. The Mets preferred to reschedule Friday night's game for one of those series.
``It is what it is,' Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. ``I'm not going to get into anything with the Braves.'
The Mets moved Carrasco out of their bullpen when right-hander Chris Young's start was pushed back to Sunday due to tendinitis in his surgically repaired arm.
Young said Friday night he felt better after throwing in the bullpen on Thursday. He said he will go through his routine on Saturday with the intent of pitching Sunday.
Ricco said if the Mets have any concerns about Young's ability to pitch deep into Sunday's game after their bullpen may be taxed in Saturday's two games, the team may have to make a roster move to call up another pitcher.
Ricco and Collins discussed the options in a telephone conversation with general manager Sandy Alderson after Friday night's game was postponed.
``Everything is on the table,' Ricco said.
Each team will wear No. 42 jerseys in the first game, as planned for Friday night, as part of baseball's annual tribute to Jackie Robinson.
NOTES: The Braves announced that fans holding tickets for Friday night's game can exchange for any other game this season, subject to availability, including Saturday's doubleheader. ... OF Jason Bay (strained left rib cage) was 0 for 2 with a walk in three innings in an extended spring training game Friday.
The Associated Press News Service
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