Jurrjens stays on track with successful simulated game

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The Braves placed right-hander Jair Jurrjens on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained right oblique. On Wednesday, he made his first big step toward what looks to be a mid-April return.

According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jurrjens tossed a four-inning simulated game on Wednesday afternoon at Triple-A Gwinnett, firing a total of 75 pitches against a lineup of minor leaguers. He reported no problems with his right side during or after the outing and is right on track with the recovery timetable that the Braves have mapped out.

“He threw well, no problems,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Wednesday. “He’ll throw again on Monday at Gwinnett, and we’ll see how he goes from there. He’ll be lined up to [start in the big leagues] on the 16th if everything goes well.”

The Braves are expected to demote promising young starter Mike Minor once Jurrjens is cleared.

Diamondbacks place Shelby Miller on the 10-day disabled list

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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.

Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.

Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.

Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.

Eric Thames hit two more homers

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And John Lackey is livid.

The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.

Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.

Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.