Jair Jurrjens to undergo minor knee surgery next week

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Jair Jurrjens threw six innings in an instructional league game yesterday and afterward general manager Frank Wren explained that “everything went well” and “he didn’t have any problems.”
That may have been true, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Jurrjens will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the partially torn meniscus in his right knee next week. It’s considered a minor surgery and Jurrjens is expected to be out of commission for just a few days, leaving him plenty of time to get fully healthy for spring training.
After posting a 2.60 ERA in 33 starts last season Jurrjens was limited to just 20 starts this year and went 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA and 86/52 K/BB ratio in 116 innings.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.